Punch Lines

"Friends" in need? Six cast members on the NBC hit "Friends" are threatening to strike unless they are paid $100,000 apiece per show plus a share of syndication profits:

* "Experts attribute the stars' daring confidence to the sage advice of their new agent, Shelley Long." (Alex Pearlstein)

* "NBC asked if they would consider being 'Acquaintances' for $50,000." (Bill Williams)

* "They're starting to sound a lot more like 'Relatives.' " (Jay Leno)

* "This might just work out. All they need is three more cocky TV stars and they'll be all set when they pitch 'Hollywood Squares' in a year or two." (Pearlstein)


In the news: No wonder the Dow plummeted, says Stan Kaplan. "All the money's going to Shaquille O'Neal."

When Boris Yeltsin postponed a meeting with Al Gore, analysts suspected health concerns. Says the Cutler Daily Scoop, "If Yeltsin's heart doctors want him to avoid excitement, what better place to be than in a meeting with Gore?"

Says Gary Easley, "Dan Quayle told Bob Dole not to worry that the polls have him way behind Clinton because the polls are only allowed to vote in Poland."

Leno and David Letterman apologized to Kathie Lee Gifford for joking about her sweatshops. Smart move, says Argus Hamilton. "It was only a matter of time before she found out they only pay 11 cents a joke."

Astronaut Shannon Lucid has broken the U.S. space flight endurance record. Says Pearlstein, "She's been with spacemen for 115 days, which is now officially one week longer than Lisa Marie Presley's record."

A new study shows that 17% of heart attacks are caused by strenuous tennis, angry outbursts or sex. Says Leno, "Kinda makes you wonder how John McEnroe got through his wedding night."

Latest fascinatin' factoid: Someone calculated that if a cockroach were the size of a human, it could run 90 mph. Says Cutler, "If a cockroach were the size of a human, we'd run 90 mph."

This is the 45th anniversary of J.D. Salinger's classic novel "The Catcher in the Rye." Says Cutler, "Salinger has reportedly finished work on a sequel, 'The Pitcher in Rehab.' "


Bummed Rush: Rush Limbaugh is quitting his late-night TV show over a scheduling dispute:

* "It seems he was squeezed into a small time slot and he needed an extra large." (Rudolph Cecera)

* "He always did have the looks for radio." (Steve Tatham)

* "Suzanne Somers is crushed. Having Rush on the air at 2 a.m. every night sure did work wonders for Thighmaster sales." (Pearlstein)


Reader Sybil Snapp of Gardena says when son Chip was 3, they visited a farm. Chip enjoyed the many farm animals, especially those he could pet. Someone set him up on a horse, backward. When Chip's father reached up to turn him around, Chip said:

"No, Daddy, turn the horse around."

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