Marsha Warfield is Back

A celebration today of Marsha Warfield (b. 1954). A comedian from Chicago’s South Side, Warfield’s first major credit was as a cast member and writer on The Richard Pryor Show (1977). She did stand-up spots on The Comedy Shop and Soul Train, and was cast in things like The Mava Collins Story (1981) with Cicely Tyson and Morgan Freeman; the ensemble comedy D.C. Cab (1983) with Mr. T., Max Gail (from Barney Miller), Whitman Mayo, and Gary Busey; and Mask (1985) with Cher, Sam Elliott, and Eric Stoltz. By now she was getting spots on Late Night with David Letterman.

At his stage came her best known credit, as Roz the Bailiff on Night Court (1986-1992), a replacement for Selma Diamond and Florence Halop, two crusty old broads who had both died of lung cancer. During this period she was in the films The Whoopee Boys (1986) with Michael O’Keefe and Paul Rodriguez, and Caddyshack II (1988), appeared on major talks shows like The Tonight Show and Arsenio Hall, and briefly hosted her own program The Marsha Warfield Show (1990). After Night Court, Warfield was a regular on Empty Nest (1993-95), and continued to do guest shots on various TV shows through the end of the ’90s.

Warfield abruptly retired around the turn of the century. Then, just a few years ago, she re-emerged as an out lesbian and a stand-up comedian, performing at major venues in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and across the country. I seldom remark on such things (because they’re usually not worth remarking about) but Warfield has one of the best websites for a contemporary professional entertainer I have ever seen, both aesthetically and in terms of the layout and access of information. Take a look at how it’s done here — and if you can afford it, book her!