John Larroquette: 'Night Court' revival as sentimental as original

John Larroquette and Melissa Rauch star in "Night Court." Photo courtesy of NBC
1 of 7 | John Larroquette and Melissa Rauch star in "Night Court." Photo courtesy of NBC

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- John Larroquette says the key to the success of the Night Court revival -- airing Tuesdays on NBC -- is honoring the sentimentality of the original series.

Larroquette is the only original cast member to reprise his role as a series regular.


"It really was a sentimental show," Larroquette, 76, said recently on the new show's Los Angeles set. "There were very touching moments."

Larroquette referred to the classic episode in which Judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson), visited prosecutor Dan Fielding (Larroquette) in the hospital. Another time, Dan convinced Harry to return to the bench after a crisis.

Anderson died in 2018. Melissa Rauch plays Abby Stone, the daughter who followed in her father's footsteps as the night court judge.

Abby asked Dan to work in her courtroom, switching sides to public defender. Larroquette said the opportunity to mentor a descendant of the original Night Court encouraged him to reprise his role.


"Being sort of the surrogate father to his daughter just adds so much heart to the bottom of the show," Larroquette said. "She grew up with Harry and Fielding grew up with Harry in a way, as well."

In the '80s iteration, Dan was a womanizer who had a new love interest almost every week. When Abby found him, Dan was a widower.

Larroquette said that at his age, and in the 2020s, having Dan revert to his womanizing ways would not be appealing. This allowed Larroquette to focus on other aspects of Dan's personality.

"His ego is still larger than the room," Larroquette said. "He's still a narcissist. He's still a bit of a misanthrope."

Recent examples of Dan's comic misanthropy include teasing court clerk Wyatt (Nyambi Nyambi) with insincere passive-aggressive thanks for an entire episode. Dan also held a grudge against a Broadway producer (Richard Kind) who swindled him out of money years before.

Larroquette said Dan always misbehaved like this in the original series, adding that what makes Dan sympathetic is that he acknowledges when someone calls him out.

"There was always somebody in Dan's life who could look at him and say, 'You're being a jerk,'" Larroquette said. "And he would shrug his shoulders and go, 'Yeah, you're right, and I'm sorry.'"


Larroquette said his career "was buoyed by this show." He won four Emmys for his portrayal of Dan and subsequently withdrew himself from Emmy consideration because he grew bored of the awards circuit, he once told Indiewire.

Before Night Court, Larroquette appeared in episodes of TV shows, movies like Stripes and Star Trek III, and read the narration for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He returned to narrate recent Chainsaw entries.

But, Larroquette followed Night Court with more TV comedies like The John Larroquette Show, Happy Family and Me, Myself & I. He said performing comedy in front of a studio audience honed a unique skill set.

Larroquette said he learned to improvise physical comedy until the laughs died down enough to continue the dialogue.

"Some of the best comedy that's ever come out of my world, out of my brain, was waiting for you to stop laughing," Larroquette said. "Some of the best physical stuff that just appeared to me in my brain [was because] you have to fill the moment."

Returning to Night Court made Larroquette sentimental not only for his character but for the castmates who have died since the original show. Charlie Robinson died in July 2021, at the time when a new Night Court pilot was being filmed.


Markie Post died that August. Richard Moll died in October.

Marsha Warfield reprised her role in the Night Court revival and will return for the season finale.

"It's like I see ghosts," Larroquette said. "There's elation because there's this new crop of people and then there's ... the sadness of remembering all those people who are no longer here."

Larroquette said the original cast was more than just co-stars. Many of them and creator Reinhold Weege had children during the course of the nine seasons.

"We were all good friends," Larroquette said. "We spent time off-stage together a lot. It was a family."

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

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