Returning to “Night Court” – How John Larroquette Feels Being Back in an Exact Copy of the Original Sitcom’s Set

“I must say, walking onto the set for the first time was sad,” revealed John Larroquette as TCA members were welcomed into Stage 10 at Warner Bros. for a visit to the set of Night Court. Stepping back into the shoes of Dan Fielding on NBC brought back a lot of memories. “There was some sadness involved. But the aliveness of these people around me made it bittersweet, yet it became sweeter and sweeter as I realized that they really had the heart of the show in their hands.” Now in its second season, John Larroquette has new happy memories associated with the set and doesn’t think about the past as often. “I became actually sort of pleased with coming back. So much of my career was sort of buoyed by this show originally. It's very important to me in many ways.”



“They're exact re-creations from the original plans,” executive producer and star Melissa Rauch shared about the set. “The walls have been updated a little bit because a government building wouldn't be that much updated over the course of 30 years. The paint colors change, but it's absolutely to scale from the original. Other than the bench because they made it just a little bit taller for me since I'm a different height than Harry. So that’s a little different. But we have the original chairs in the cafeteria from the original cafeteria set, which is very exciting. And because that was one of the tallest casts in television, my legs tend to dangle on these seats very much.”

The revival of Night Court was a big hit for NBC last season, and production on Season 2 was well underway when the Hollywood strikes happened last summer. Some scripts had been written for holidays that were now in the past, like Halloween. “[John Larroquette] sent me a picture of himself from Star Trek III as Maltz,” recalled executive producer Dan Rubin about the spark that allowed this season’s Halloween episode to be repurposed around Comic Con. “I was like, ‘Well, now that it’s his idea, he can’t be that mad when we make him put that on.’ He still was [mad]. He still came up to me that morning and said, ‘I never liked you’ [jokingly]. And he’s intimidating anyway, but when he’s dressed as a Klingon, forget about it.”

During the panel, the cast shared their excitement for new storylines this season. “We have a love interest for her,” Lacretta shared of her character, Donna ‘Gurgs’ Gurganous. “That’s been exciting to explore because I know how boy crazy I am. And thankfully a little bit of that gets to spill over into Gurgs.”

“Olivia's loosening up a little bit,” India de Beaufort shared. “In the first season, she's very tight. She is very solitary, antisocial. And throughout the course of the first season, we start to see her use the word friend and not actually hate it as much as she would have when we first met her. That path continues into Season 2. We start to learn a little bit more about of all of our characters’ vulnerability and their relationship with each other. And she starts to have a little bit more connection with the other crazy cats over at Night Court.”

New to the series is Nyambi Nyambi as Wyatt Cooper. “It’s the ultimate confirmation that you’re funny,” he shared about the experience of filming live in front of a studio audience. “It’s so electric. When you get the laugh… it's like oxygen. Because then you breathe that laugh in and then you just, boom, the next thing that comes out is even funnier than the next. It's a beautiful thing.”

As the landscape of TV continues to change in the wake of streaming, multi-cam sitcoms filmed in front of a live studio audience feel like they’re becoming a rarity. “The world needs comedies,” concluded executive producer Winston Rauch. “We have real laughter in our audience that responds to the brilliant writing that Dan Rubin and his team do every week, and if anything, we have to bring that laughter down a lot of times. I heard my son in a sound mix the other day. I could hear my 3-year-old, who was in the audience for the first time, laughing at one of the jokes. It was a joke about PAW Patrol, but it was on brand for him… But as long as there’s great writing and great performers, there will always be room for multi-cams and networks like NBC that remain dedicated to comedies, in addition to Warner Bros. supporting them on the producing side.”

A new episode of Night Court airs tonight at 8/7c on NBC, also available to stream on Peacock. And now, a few more photos from the set.

Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).