Hillary and Bill have been saying some pretty nice things about Rudy since his personal life derailed. Is there anything odder than political friendships?

And you know, after watching Bush and McCain bloody each other in the political arena for three months in a way that makes the battle scenes in GLADIATOR look like a pillow fight between Mr. Rogers and Ainsley Harriott, it's hard to accept that they're best buddies now. I guess Bush has learned the sweet truth that there is nothing more satisfying in life than a good friend, except of course a good friend who is far less successful than you are.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but what is a friend? Usually a friend is someone with whom you have a lot in common, but sometimes opposites attract. For instance, one of my closest buddies is a wise-cracking, cynical, self-centered prick with blonde hair.

In a nutshell, a friend is someone who can see through your external surface bullshit to the deeper and more profound bullshit that lies within. A friend is someone who holds your place in line to get Sulu's autograph while you're changing into your Klingon costume in the car. A friend is someone whom, when you ask what he paid for his house, doesn't pull that "It was so long ago I really can't remember" shit. You ask him and he gives you a number.

To me a true sign that someone is a great friend is when I can go long stretches in his company without saying so much as a word. That's trust. My best friend? Actor John Garfield's perfectly preserved corpse.

Friends are so important that, if kids can't find real ones, they'll make them up. Most people outgrow their imaginary friends, but I've just been adding to them over the years. Gary was there from the beginning, but there's also Russell, Dwight and Kim, who sounds like a girl but actually he's from Korea. My doctor gave me a medicine that makes them go away but I don't take it.

I remember in eighth grade when this girl had to be excused from class because I overheard her tell the teacher that she got her "friend." I kept thinking to myself, "Boy, that must be a great friend if they can get you out of school." The next day, math class was getting pretty boring so I told the nun I needed to go home because I got my "friend." But instead of letting me go, she turned her college ring into her palm and hit me on the top of the skull so hard that, to this day, her college still uses my head as a mold to make its rings.

Anyone who ever said a dog was man's best friend never had a pet chimpanzee. A few years back I rescued Johnny Mustard from an animal shelter in Vegas. Johnny draws me a bath and changes the television channels, but most of the time he's just sitting there on my lap chain smoking some strange French cigarette that he seems to like. I take him on the road and we sleep in the same bed together. I just wish he didn't get so enraged whenever my two kids walk into the room.

Women will often say it's a test of friendship among females when both of them like the same guy, but I don't think that has to be a problem. Most guys would be happy to sleep with both of them at once. You know, I'm surprised more women don't pursue this solution. I guess deep down inside, they just aren't committed to making their friendships work.

Our guest tonight is one of the stars of the show FRIENDS, which has done more for friendship than the little white lie. Boy, I hope the show comes back. You know what I say? NBC, give 'em the million per episode. Hell, give 'em two million. It's a great show, they're funny kids, and they've made you buckets of money. Hey, you think girls are gonna run to the salon anytime soon and ask for Kelsey Grammer's haircut?

By the way, you know who my favorite "Friend" is? Many of you might guess Chandler, because he's so fast with a quip, or Rachel because she's sooooo pretty. But no, my favorite Friend is Joey. You know why? Very simple--I love him.

Sure, friendship is risky. When you let someone into your life, give them your trust and avail yourself of theirs, you open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt. But what is the alternative? Being a cold and distant emotional hermit whose only interest is in himself? That's no way to live--unless of course you happen to make a shitload of money, in which case it'd be pretty damn sweet, because as we all know, you don't need friends if you have money. Right Wally? [Dennis pulls out his wallet.] "Righty-o, Dennis."

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


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