Paul Scheer in Night Court.

Paul Scheer Just Loves Comedy

There are few actors who can just show up and become fan favorites, but when it boils down to it, those roles are typically played by Paul Scheer. The comedian is someone we love to see show up in television shows, and his role on Night Court is no different!

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When speaking with Scheer, I asked him about his own connection to Night Court before joining the series as Carnes. “I grew up watching it when it was actually on, right? And it was one of those things where it was like, I don’t know if I knew as a kid I wanted to be a performer or comedian. I don’t know if I articulated that, but I knew that I wanted to be there,” he said. “I just wanted to be in my TV with these characters that I love. And so stepping on that set, which is an exact recreation from the blueprints of the original set, was mind blowing. It was like a fantasy. I don’t even know. It just doesn’t even exist because it’s like you could fantasize like, ‘Oh, I’d love to meet this person one day or work with this person.’ But no, I got to be on the set of the thing that I wanted to be on standing next to the guy who was on the show when I was watching it.”

Scheer is referring to John Larroquette, who returned to the series as Dan Fielding. “It was just like my brain exploded. And I took a picture for my dad because I watched the show with my dad all the time and my dad was like, ‘Oh my God.’ There’s something so great about this show. When Melissa announced that she was doing it, I sent her a text right away and I was like, this is a genius idea because Night Court is the closest thing that we have to a live-action Simpsons. You have this weird world and then you have these characters that you actually care about that are grounded and fun.”

Working with familiarity

Scheer has worked with a number of comedians time and time again, one being Rob Huebel. In their episode of Night Court, Huebel plays Pellino and the two are back to being that duo we comedy fans know and love. And Scheer very clearly loves getting to work with his friend.

“To me, working with Rob is just a joy because we know each other. And, not to oversimplify it, but I probably perform with Rob more than anybody else in my entire career,” Scheer said. “He’s like my work wife. We are partners in that way. We know each other and we get each other and I know when he’s upset, it’s the only relationship that I have with another performer that goes that deep because we’ve been in so many insane situations together that I’ve seen him at every different thing. So to go on this set, it’s always nerve wracking to be a guest star in any show because you’re the new guy. It’s like I’m transferred in here and you don’t really care about me because I’m gonna leave in like four days. So whenever it’s my show and people come on, I do my best to make them feel welcome. So to have Rob with me made it so fun. And actually, I think I gave a better performance just because I had my scene partner there. And then we got to rehearse this thing all weekend. It was great. And because I worked with India on Veep and Melissa and I worked together on Black Monday, it was just really familiar and really fun.”

What’s great is that Paul Scheer is no stranger to being a part of this nostalgic kind of show. He was part of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and he continues to bring his brand of comedy to those shows that mean a lot to fans. When asking him about bringing that love to life, it seems to always be rooted in his own fandom.

“I think that this idea, it’s interesting, right?” Scheer said. “Because there’s a thing where nostalgia, just for nostalgia state sake is kind of uninteresting. But when you find really interesting voices that have a new take on something, it becomes incredibly exciting. I think the trap that you have to look out for when you make something, I was attached to remake Galaxy Quest for a while and I think some of the fight I had ‘No, just redo the same thing. We want the same thing.’ And I was like, well, no, you can’t just do a fish outta water twice. We have to find different ways to expand this. And we have to make it different. And I think what’s kind of beautiful about Night Court is the premise of Night Court is the star.”

Scheer went on to talk about what he loved this version of the show. “This is a real thing that happens in New York with real weirdos. I’m a New Yorker. I have never went there, but I understand that this is real,” he said. “And you got Harry Anderson in there as the judge, and he’s gonna bring his own thing. And he is great, but the show doesn’t live or die by Harry Anderson. So when you have Melissa in there, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m getting this thing that I love with new perspectives because the show can actually hold it.’ I think a lot of people try to make Everyone Loves Raymond without Ray Romano. But no one is going to be like, ‘No, what’s a cool concept?’ And just cast really funny people in it. And I think that’s the right way to do nostalgia. And we have Dan Fielding back, but it’s not the same Dan Fielding. It’s like characters grow change. You have to do that. I think that the simple thing is that’s a photocopy and that’s what makes me bummed out. I don’t wanna just see a photocopy. I can go watch the other thing.”

Paul Scheer, comedian and book writer!

One of the things that makes Paul Scheer such a fascinating performer is that he is always keep us on our toes. Not only is he showing up in beloved shows or hosting his podcast How Did This Get Made? but he also has spent time writing his own book!

When I asked him about it, he gave me some insight into what to expect from the book. “I have written a book. It’s called Joyful Recollections of Trauma,” he said. “It is based on the stories that I would tell on How Did This Get Made?. When we started doing that show 14 years ago, I never dreamt that a book would come out of it about my childhood. But I never really intended to do this. But as I started talking about my childhood on the show, people’s reactions to it were so big. ‘You have to write a book, you have to write a book, you have to write a book.’ And I’d always kind of like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.’ And I love long form writing. Back in the Day, I loved Tumblr and I love blog posts and I write my scripts and all that sort of stuff.”

But Scheer saw writing his own book as a challenge: “There’s something about writing and I was like, ‘Let me challenge myself to do it.’ So I sat down and I started writing the stories, and I knew that if I was gonna write a book, it couldn’t just be anecdotes. It needed to do something bigger, it had to be book worthy. And I had great agents and we were able to sell it to Harper. And I feel the end result is something that will be very familiar to the How Did This Get Made? audience of what they want it to be, but also completely different than what they’ve imagined it to be. I think it’s a dark book. I think it’s a funny book. And then at the same time, it barely touches on everything that I wanted to do. But I can happily say it’s available for pre-order right now.”

You can pre-order Scheer’s book here and catch him on Night Court!

(featured image: NBC)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.