A GoPride Interview

Marsha Warfield

Marsha Warfield ties the knot on Night Court

Mon. March 25, 2024  by Jerry Nunn

It is the best Night Court episode ever because I am in it all the way through!
Marsha Warfield

marsha warfield

photo credit // nbc

Marsha Warfield finds a TV wife at Night Court

NBC’s Night Court television show premiered back in 1984 and season two of the revival ends with a ceremony of love in 2024.

For nine seasons Marsha Warfield played Roz Russell in the original series and has returned to guest on several episodes of the reboot.

One of her guest spots was on the finale of the second season titled The Best Dan airing on March 26. The bailiff marries her fiancé inside the courtroom where she’s spent so much of her life over the years.

This full circle moment will surely have audiences tearing up for the special ceremony officiated by Dan Fielding played by actor John Larroguette.

Warfield hails from Chicago’s South Side and graduated from Calumet High School. She has appeared on many television and film projects over the years including Empty Nest, 9-1-1 and The Marsha Warfield Show.

Her standup comedy routines continue to take her around the world and bring her back to the Windy City often.

She talked about her latest appearance on Night Court before its debut.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) I know you are originally from Chicago, but where are you located now?

MW: (Marsha Warfield) I live between Las Vegas and Los Angeles now. I go back and forth. The way things have been going lately I don’t live anywhere. I live in a hotel!

JN: Well, you have to stop back in Chicago soon.

MW: I love Chicago and even love to visit it in the winter.

JN: Did you always want to perform for the public when you were growing up?

MW: Growing up I had no concept that there was such a thing as regular people becoming entertainers. They were magic people who only existed in the little box or on the big screen. I did not understand how one could become an actor or a comedian. Especially because it was the ‘50s and there were not a lot of Black people on TV or in the movies.

I didn’t know there was a way to break into the business, so no I didn’t. I always told jokes from the time I was a little girl. When I got my first library card I checked out joke books and cookbooks. As a five year old I learned how to make a hamburger and tell knock-knock jokes.

JN: Looking back at Night Court did you ever think it would still be the gift that keeps on giving?

MW: I had no idea that Night Court the resurrection would be a thing! It was a closed chapter. I don’t think anyone imagined that we would be back on the set of an iconic show doing it again. Even when the reboot was announced it didn’t even cross my mind that I would be on it.

JN: In what ways are you alike or different from Roz Russell?

MW: I am Marsha as I see me and Roz as other people see me. They write Roz for me and come up with a concept in their head. I try to embody the character. We are the same age and height. As far as personalities we have some commonality, but in other ways we don’t. I hope I am not as caustic as Roz!

JN: How different is Roz in the reboot of Night Court? She seems more mellow to me.

MW: I don’t know if she is mellow, but I am doing a tough job. We haven’t seen her as a private investigator and we see her in more human and personal situations. She is the same woman from a different perspective. I am looking forward to seeing who she is and where she goes after she gets married.

JN: Talk about the season finale of Night Court’s season two.

MW: I get to be married in the courthouse because of circumstances where my wedding venue is canceled so I have to come up with a plan right away.

I end up getting married in Judge Stone’s court.

JN: That sounds so emotional. Were there tears?

MW: There were tears that week because it was my birthday. They gave me a cake and all kinds of presents. I received about 70 roses.

Some of the cast and crew have been there since the beginning and are still working on Night Court, so there was some emotions there.

I was 32 years old when I started and they wished me a happy 70th on March 5. It was a very nice birthday week!

JN: How has the journey been for you coming out on TV and in real life?

MW: It has been easy. I waited until people did all the hard work for me. You know Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell plus Barack Obama’s Defense of Marriage Act all put in the hard work.

It was not stressful when I finally came out, but it was stressful all the way up until then.

JN: You are a hero to a lot of people. You may not hear that enough…

MW: That is great and I appreciate it more than you know. The tradition of show business doesn’t have many people coming out because they are worried that they might lose fans or they have been advised not to come out for business reasons. So many have passed on without revealing their true selves. I think that is a shame. Anything I can do to promote and normalize the love in a relationship I am all for.

I am also for people still being happy and living life even into their seventies. They don’t have to give up on life and wait for the inevitable to happen. I am going to grow old as a badass and give it a hundred and seventy-five percent!

I am going to make the most of the time I have left to do as much as I can and enjoy it as much as possible.

JN: Have you thought about writing a book?

MW: My standup show is called The Book of Marsha because I am a standup performer and that is what I do. I tell stories onstage and we are going to do it for Netflix Is a Joke on May 6 where I will present it. I am preparing it for a one-woman show down the line.

JN: It’s great that you are continuing with standup comedy.

MW: Next week I will be at the Comedy Cellar Rio in Las Vegas. I hosted the First Ladies of Disco last weekend in Boston.

Everyone should see it if it comes to your town. I don’t just love Martha Wash for her beautiful voice, but also for the way she stood up to the record industry. She took a stand and she won. That took tremendous guts and she doesn’t want any praise, so we have to give it to her in spite of that. Her, Linda Clifford, Norma Jean Wright and Anita Ward were all in the show. They have a great backup band and it is all magic. Old people get young when those women are onstage. They are up dancing from the first note until the last. It is a wonderful show and I am happy to be a part of that.

JN: I have interviewed Martha and Linda in the past. They are such allies to the LGBQ+ community.

MW: Yes, they are.

JN: Well, it has been an honor to meet you virtually and I hope to see you in Chicago soon. Keep on going as Roz.

MW: It is the best Night Court episode ever because I am in it all the way through!

Stream Night Court at peacocktv.com and find Warfield’s live shows at marshawarfield.com.


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.