Trying to return number of comments

Sorry.. noob question... but I'm pulling my hair out over here...

I'm trying to return the number of comments for a specific post. Basically just adding a comment count to the Global Posts Widget (curious why it's not available, but anyway...).

Could you help me diagnose why this returns "--", even though when I use this SQL in phpMyAdmin, it returns the correct value (2)?

function comment_count($blog_id, $post_id)
		global $wpdb;
		$result = $wpdb->get_results(
			SELECT Count ( * ) AS comment_count
			FROM bowwp_site_comments
			WHERE blog_id=105
				AND comment_post_id=66
		$comments = $result['comment_count'];
		if ( ! $comments) {
			return "--";
		} else {
			return $comment_count;