Plus RuPaul for M.A.C., and Bruce Springsteen

By Ethan Smith
Updated March 10, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

MAD MAN: How odd is it that comedian Paul Reiser was picked to host the 37th annual Grammy Awards on March 1? Not so odd. As it turns out, Reiser is a bit of a musician himself. ”I was a classical-piano major in college,” says the Mad About You star, who used his ivory-tickling skills to cowrite the theme song for the hit NBC show. ”I still play,” he adds. ”My friends come over and we do Gregorian chants. We do this in robes eating fish sandwiches.” Despite his education, Reiser admits he was still intimidated by the Grammy gig because he’s not exactly up on current music. ”I didn’t know who Green Day was,” he says. ”I thought they were 12-year-old ecologists.” Then again, Reiser says that the music awards are ”just a stepping-stone” to the big stuff: the Oscars. ”Then I do that show and push myself right out of show business.”

Working Whirl: Why hire a man in drag to sell makeup to women? ”Why not?” says M.A.C founder Frank Toskan of the Toronto-based firm’s decision to hire RuPaul as M.A.C Cosmetics’ new spokes uh person. ”Who better than RuPaul to show what makeup can really do?” The contract also makes sense given Ru’s next transformation. Fresh from a stint as Jan’s guidance counselor in The Brady Bunch Movie, the transvestite sheds his false eyelashes to play a preppy guy in the USA Network’s A Mother’s Prayer, starring Linda Hamilton. Were the film’s tweedy threads a relief from high heels, corsets, and wigs? ”Definitely. I got to actually concentrate on acting,” RuPaul says, ”instead of sitting around worrying if my face is cracking.”

It Was ‘Murder’? When Bruce Springsteen took the stage at New York City’s Tramps nightclub on Feb. 21, the invitation-only crowd thought they were there to witness a video shoot for ”Murder Incorporated,” the Jersey rocker’s first live performance with the E Street Band in seven years. But what they got was classic Bruce, circa 1978. Between takes for the Jonathan Demme-directed video, the Boss asked the audience if he could ”play a few songs in the meantime.” By evening’s end, the crowd had been treated to six renditions of the song as well as 12 old favorites, including ”Spirit in the Night,” ”Cadillac Ranch,” and ”Darkness on the Edge of Town.” The show, however, was a one-time deal. According to a Tramps spokesman, Springsteen turned down the venue’s offer to return for some acoustic shows this summer.