Melissa Rauch: Brent Spiner 'Night Court' return like 'time machine'

Melissa Rauch plays Judge Abby Stone on "Night Court." Photo courtesy of NBC
1 of 7 | Melissa Rauch plays Judge Abby Stone on "Night Court." Photo courtesy of NBC

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- An upcoming episode of Night Court, airing Tuesdays on NBC, features the return of Brent Spiner and Annie O'Donnell as Bob and June Wheeler.

The Wheelers appeared in several episodes of the original Night Court in the 1980s.


Melissa Rauch, star and executive producer of the current Night Court, said it was surreal performing with characters who came before her predecessor, Harry Anderson, and his courtroom.

"It's such a dream getting to be on set with Brent and Annie, seeing them walk into the courtroom and stand in front of the judge's bench that I'm sitting at," Rauch told UPI in an interview in Los Angeles. "It feels like I stepped into a time machine."

It has been 32 years since Anderson's Night Court ended, and the Wheelers' last appeared in 1987. The poor couple's woes topped their previous misfortunes in every appearance.


Now the Wheelers are a trio. Singer/actor Kate Micucci plays their daughter in Tuesday's episode.

"It's like she's been a Wheeler all her life," said Rauch, who worked with Micucci on The Big Bang Theory. "It's comedic gold."

The Night Court cast had rehearsed the Wheelers episode on Wednesday. India de Beaufort, who plays prosecutor Olivia Moore, and Nyambi Nyambi, who plays court clerk Wyatt, agreed with Rauch they felt like they'd traveled back in time to the previous Night Court.

"It's going to be crazy when we see them in wardrobe," Nyambi said. "That's where it's going to be trippy time travel."

Night Court already brought back cast members from the original series. Marsha Warfield reprised her role as Roz, though Roz no longer works as a bailiff.

Roz will return for the Season 2 finale. Rauch said she considered Warfield "our good luck charm," especially reuniting her with John Larroquette, who reprises his role of Dan Fielding in Rauch's show.

Looking ahead to Warfield's return, Rauch only expects to "create more magic with her and John."

Season 2 also introduced Wyatt as the new clerk. Nyambi said he had a meeting with Night Court executive producer and showrunner Dan Rubin, and the show has tailored the role to him.


"This one was very much me at my most joyous," Nyambi said. "I'm always listening to a song right before we start. I listen to 'Step Into a World' by KRS-One, and then I come in with that energy."

That joy may present as silliness, Nyambi said. He said he especially enjoys working with comedic props, such as an episode in which Wyatt wears a disconnected headset just to appear as if he were talking to someone with authority.

"Once every episode, I do something where I say to myself, 'Nyambi, you're so stupid,'" he said. "That's my goal, and I think I've done that."

Night Court also marks Rauch's return to the sitcom world after Big Bang. She said she fell in love with filming in front of a studio audience on that show.

"This is everything I love about theater, but in the TV medium," Rauch said. "I thought if I could do this the rest of my life, I'd be very happy."

On Big Bang, and in movies like The Bronze, Rauch also spoke in a funny voice. Judge Abby Stone, daughter of the late Anderson's character, sounds like the real Rauch, but Rauch said fans of Night Court might notice some homages to Anderson.


"I want her to be very much a continuation of Harry -- not an imitation of him by any means, but just in his rhythms and his cadence to have a little bit of Harry in there," Rauch said.

De Beaufort has taken on a new voice for Night Court, too, although it's one that evolved naturally. De Beaufort grew up and began working in England, where she said she had a noticeable British accent.

Working in the United States for 15 years, de Beaufort naturally lost her accent, so Olivia sounds like a New Yorker.

"Some people, their ears just adjust differently," de Beaufort said. "But if my mum calls, it will start right back in."

Night Court airs at 8 p.m. EST Tuesdays on NBC.

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