Mess in court: “Night Court” is back in session after three decades.
The comedy’s eight-year run chronicling a New York City courtroom’s eccentric night shift ended in 1992. But the sitcom returns to NBC on Tuesday (8 EST/PST) with a double episode premiere.
The familiar courtroom is the same, but the staff has changed. Many of the original “Night Court” cast members have passed away, including Markie Post (public defender Christine Sullivan) in 2021, and Harry Anderson, who died in 2018 and who fans will forever remember as the trick-loving judge. magic Harry T. Stone.
John Larroquette, 75, who won two Emmys playing narcissistic prosecutor Dan Fielding, returns with a white beard. Burned-out Fielding is recruited as a public defender by the new presiding judge, the late Stone’s equally eccentric adult daughter, Abby (‘Big Bang Theory’ star Melissa Rauch).
“I’m now 75, not the 35 who started playing this character. I can’t do the physical comedy I used to do anymore,” Larroquette says. “Hopefully with wit and intellect we’ve found other ways for him to be funny, not just the clown he was in the 80s. But it’s a new world. “
Larroquette spoke to USA TODAY about responding to the “Night Court” appeal.
RIP Harry Anderson: Eccentric ‘Night Court’ judge Harry Stone dies at 65
Question: How was it to walk into the courtroom for the first time after 30 years?
John Larroquette: Emotional. Because you when you think of the people who were there. They did a very good job of reproducing and reconstructing the set. The cafeteria, the courtroom, the hallways are the same. It was like going back to your old school but with more emotions because the main reasons the show was so successful and so enjoyable to do had passed. Markie and Harry and Charlie Robinson (Clerk Mac Robinson) died while we were doing the (new) pilot.
As defense counsel, Dan now sits in the chair that Christine Sullivan occupied for years. So I often pay a silent tribute to Markie.
Is there anyone from the original show?
Certainly not in the casting. But I’m lucky to have two crew members from the original who share a story. There were times when I could be in a spot on set and say, “Remember when Harry pulled the hamster out of his nose right here?”
‘Night Court’ cries:John Larroquette is “heartbroken” for Harry Anderson; stars pay tribute
When alone in Harry’s old office, Fielding pays a moving tribute at the premiere. Was it also a farewell to Harry Anderson?
It’s tricky here, because the character and the real person have the same first name. Harry hasn’t been with us for a while now. You want to remember people with reverence, but you don’t maudlin, frankly. This discourse is about the character.
It’s now Abby’s office, with some notable changes. Is there a favorite remnant of Harry?
It’s the same sofa, I can tell you. I put a board under the cushions in the 80s because it was too soft. The painting was still there. There are some fun substitutions, taking Jean Harlow’s photo and replacing it with a German Shepherd, because it’s her dog. But there have been 30 years of law in this building. So there have been a lot of changes.
Why is Melissa Rauch well placed to take her dad Harry’s place on the bench?
I’m a comedy actor, just like Melissa with her pedigree. It’s good music when we play together. We know how to deal with jokes but also make them real. Abby is a bit of a prankster like her dad, minus the magic. You don’t want to rehearse too much. But get rid of the shenanigans, and the two judges care about their jobs and justice for the people.
The “Night Court” theme song is instantly familiar, but shorter. Why?
The theme song is the same tune, modernized. In fact, my son, Benjamin Larroquette, who is the composer of the series, re-recorded it. Just him in his recording studio. Back then, with shows like ours, “Cheers” or “Family Ties,” you had a much longer opening credits. It’s, like, nine seconds showing some shots of New York, the cast members and getting into the show. You just don’t have much time to play with it. It’s just another era, 30 years later.
Did you discuss the appearances of other original cast members Marsha Warfield and Richard Moll?
As for the main cast, only Marcia and Richard are still with us. Marsha and I talked. No secret, we may see one or two of the former come here as a guest star. We do not know yet. But there was a cavalcade of great comedic actors who were just starting their careers to come through the court doors, Stephen Root, Brent Spiner and Michael J. Fox. Who knows what the future holds