"Don is my best friend, which just gives you some idea of the difficulty I have in making friends." — Bob Newhart speaking at a Don Rickles roast.
"Bob's a brainy kind of comedian and I'm a kind of guy that gets laughs." — Don Rickles on Bob Newhart
The New Yorker website is streaming "Bob and Don: A Love Story," an 20-minute documentary by Judd Apatow that reveals the remarkable lifelong friendship between comedy giants Bob Newhart (94) and Don Rickles (who died in 2017). It's told through a series of anecdotes, personal memories, and archival footage.
Apatow went to Newhart's house to ask him about the two comedians' mutual respect and affection, their families' closeness, their shared values, and the love that underpinned their decades-long friendship.
Here's one anecdote from the documentary that Newhart shared with Phil Donahue about the first time his wife Ginnie met Rickles.
We went and we met them [Rickles and his wife Barbara] at the coffee shop at the Sahara. And Don was a pussycat. And as we're leaving, we were going to see Don's third show in the lounge. And Ginnie said, Ginnie said to me, she said, "He's such a sweet man. He's such a lovely man."
I said, Well, honey, it may be a little different once we get into the lounge. So, we got in the lounge, sat down, and he said, "I wanna introduce very good friends of mine, the stammering idiot from Chicago, Bob Newhart, and his hooker wife from Bayonne."
If that's not true friendship, I don't know what is.