By Maureen Lee Lenker
June 08, 2018 at 02:22 PM EDT

Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox will be there for George Clooney.

The two actresses staged a mini Friends reunion at the 46th annual AFI Life Achievement Award gala presented by Audi at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood Thursday evening.

Taking the stage to ostensibly honor the man of the hour, the actresses instead gently ribbed Clooney about the real reason for his and E.R.’s success — the Friends lead-in.

“The success of the show can be explained in two words,” began Aniston. And while Cox announced “George Clooney,” Aniston yelled, “Lead-in!”

Cox quickly gave in, noting, “She’s right. Let’s just admit it right here and now. There were millions of people watching Friends that happened to stay there — too lazy to turn the channel. Without us, you’re Chicago Hope, buddy.”

American Film Institute's 46th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to George Clooney - Backstage
Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

“Lucky for you, George, we remained on the air on Thursday nights, pretty much paving the way for I’d say every success that you’ve had since then,” joked Aniston.

After telling Clooney “You’re welcome,” the two then riffed on the iconic Friends theme song, The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You.”

“I mean this, in all seriousness, from the bottom of the both of our hearts, I’m going to be there for you,” said Aniston, before Cox added, “When the rain starts to pour.” Then, Aniston continued, “I’m going to be there for you, buddy” as Cox rejoined, “Like I’ve been there before.”

American Film Institute's 46th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to George Clooney - Backstage
Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Though it’s unlikely a full-scale Friends reunion (or reboot) will ever happen, fans got a little taste of what it would be like to see Monica and Rachel back together again complete with the show’s beloved theme song.

The AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to George Clooney airs Thursday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET on TNT. Sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will offer an encore airing in September alongside a night of programming featuring Clooney’s work.



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