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Order in the ‘Night Court!’ — Marsha Warfield Is Back!

Everyone’s favorite bailiff talks to AARP about her reunion with John Larroquette on the hit reboot of the beloved sitcom

spinner image John Larroquette and Marsha Warfield standing inside a jail cell in "Night Court."
(Left to right) John Larroquette as Dan Fielding and Marsha Warfield as Roz Russell in "Night Court."
Nicole Weingart/NBC

Last year on the rebooted sitcom Night Court — which got better reviews than the original show in 1984-92 — John Larroquette, 76, revived his sarcastic lawyer character Dan Fielding, now a judge. In the second season (premiering Jan. 2 on NBC, streaming on Peacock starting Jan. 3; watch the first episode here), his equally sharp comic foil, no-nonsense former bailiff Roz Russell (Marsha Warfield, 69), reunites with Dan — she’s been jailed for rowdiness at a Louisiana bachelorette party and is astounded to find that he’s her judge.

Warfield testifies to AARP about what it’s like to revisit a character she played in 136 episodes of the original show.

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Welcome back to ‘Night Court’ after 32 years! John told AARP that his character is over three decades older — and so are we original 'Night Court' viewers.

​We’re the lucky ones!

How is the 2024 Night Court different from 1992?

​It's like Night Court had a baby, Night Court Jr. But it has its own flavor. It has its own gas, its own chemistry. 

spinner image John Larroquette and Marsha Warfield talking to each other in the original "Night Court" series.
John Larroquette and Marsha Warfield in the original "Night Court" series.
Gary Null/NBC via Getty Images

What was Roz’s role on the old show, and who is she now?

​Roz was the observer/commentator. She was part of the group, but always the one who had a critique of whatever they would do. When they were planning something bizarre, Roz walked in and said, "That’s not gonna work." Everybody would ignore her, and then she'd come back at the end and say, "I told you it wasn’t gonna work!"

​Roz always reminded me of Eve Arden in the 1950s sitcom ‘Our Miss Brooks’ — very sardonic.

Eve Arden was — I won’t say crush, but one of my first comedy influences. I just loved her deadpan delivery, slow burns and long takes.

​I like to tease people that I’m everybody's mother's favorite comedian. People tell me all the time about their memory of watching Night Court with loved ones who are no longer with them. So it gives them the warm fuzzies to see the new show with people from the old show in it.

spinner image Melissa Rauch holding a toy train in "Night Court."
Melissa Rauch stars as Abby Stone in "Night Court."
Elizabeth Morris/NBC/Warner Bros. Television

​​How does the new Judge Stone (Melissa Rauch of 'The Big Bang Theory') compare to her dad, the original Judge Stone character (played by the late Harry Anderson)?

​There’s a kind of family resemblance between those characters — I think Harry would be happy with it. Harry’s Judge Stone was pretty close to Harry the man. Harry was a scamp and a rogue, but a really sweet guy. And Melissa is a really sweet person. She brings that same kind of softhearted love to the show. It’s the glue that held the mayhem together. 

John’s Dan can play his curmudgeonly self against this really sweet person. That was a big part of what made Night Court work. It wasn't just the exploding desks and giant cue balls.

John told AARP that Dan used to jump over railings in court, but doesn’t so much anymore.

​He’s still pretty spry! He still manages to do a few little cute choreographed cool things. I don't think he’s slowed down that much. He just can't help it, he’s a natural.

In 1992, what was it like being a stand-up comic suddenly cast in a sitcom?

​I learned so much, because I hadn't ever really done a series, so I had to learn on the fly. And watching John, Harry and all these professionals — everybody was so good that they made it easy for me.

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Who needs Juilliard when you got those guys?

​I couldn't say it better.

spinner image Melissa Rauch, Marsha Warfield and John Larroquette in "Night Court."
(Left to right) Melissa Rauch, Marsha Warfield and John Larroquette in the "Night Court" reboot.
Nicole Weingart/NBC

John told AARP that in 2024, his character Dan is not quite as insecure, not as much of a misanthrope as he was in 1992: ‘He thinks most of humanity is a small waste of space, as opposed to a huge waste of space. And wants to help the ones that aren't.’ How does Roz feel?

​Most comedians, and people who try to uphold the law, are kind of disappointed optimists. She believes in the goodness of people, and so she has antipathy for people outside of the law messing it up for everybody. That sparks her to anger. But the bottom line is, she's really at heart all soft.

John said playing an old role with you was like riding a bicycle: It all comes back. What’s it like to recreate the character?

​It’s like going to your prom again at 69. Fun!

Does Hollywood have an ageism problem?

​We have a bias against aging. We treat our seasoned adults like they’re disposable. Everybody wants the young people's money, so they cater to them. But it's nice to have somebody with a little wisdom to pull everybody — like hey, you need to slow your roll!

spinner image John Larroquette and Marsha Warfield holding cocktails in "Night Court."
Nicole Weingart/NBC

And you haven’t forgotten how to do stand-up comedy, right?

​I started doing stand-up in 1974, and I’m still standing. I’ll be in Akron on Martin Luther King weekend, then in New York to work with Carole Montgomery's Funny Women of a Certain Age. And then I do First Ladies of Disco in Las Vegas with Martha Wash, Linda Clifford and some other disco divas.

And on Night Court, I feel lucky to get a chance to walk in those shoes again and revisit that pretty fun time. I haven’t lost a step, but like my grandmother used to say, “I’m still kicking — but not too high!”

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