Paul Reiser Singing With Michael McDonald Weirdly Sorta Makes Sense

The ubiquitous ‘80s stars are making beautiful music together
Paul Reiser Singing With Michael McDonald Weirdly Sorta Makes Sense

It’s not that weird to tune into The Tonight Show to see Jimmy Fallon joining in with his musical guests, whether they want him to or not. So when Michael McDonald picked up the microphone to croon the Doobie Brothers classic, “Takin’ It to the Streets,” it was a lock that Fallon would join in. 

But hold on a minute — is that comic Paul Reiser singing along? The guy from Mad About You and Aliens and Stranger Things? What the hell? A Michael McDonald/Paul Reiser duet makes absolutely no sense — until you realize that it makes all the sense in the world. Consider…

Both Guys Are ‘80s Icons

So they must run in the same circles, right? Reiser spent the decade goofing with Eddie Murphy in the first two Beverly Hills Cop movies, and performing regularly on Late Night with David Letterman. He also owned the most ‘80s shirt/blazer combo ever.

McDonald started the decade with a bang, grabbing a Grammy for the Doobies’ “What A Fool Believes.” He was also the guy singing background vocals on every yacht rock hit from Christopher Cross to Steely Dan to Toto, memorialized forever by Rick Moranis and SCTV.

Of course, the two guys would run into each other on the regular. 

Both Guys Are Accomplished Musicians

McDonald’s bona fides speak for themselves. Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Best R&B Performance — the guy’s a walking Grammy. 

But who knew Reiser was a bit of a virtuoso himself? Not only did he co-write the theme song for Mad About You, he’s the dude ticking the ivories as well. His bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University wasn’t in Theater or Creative Writing, the guy majored in piano performance.

Both Guys Wrote McDonald’s New Memoir

Oh, maybe that’s why they were both there on The Tonight Show. But still, of all the ghostwriters McDonald could have chosen, why Reiser? It started with Reiser the fan. Despite being able to play most radio hits by ear, he bought the sheet music to “What A Fool Believes” because he couldn’t figure it out. Eventually, Reiser the superfan became friends with McDonald. And then…

“I sort of made a joke,” Reiser told PEOPLE. “Because I would periodically ask Mike questions I didn’t understand about the Doobies, about him, and I said, jokingly, ‘You should write a book so I don’t have to bother you all the time.’ And he jokingly said, ‘I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know how you start that.’ Given that we both had an enormous amount of time on our hands with nowhere to be (during the pandemic), we said, ‘Let's see how this goes.’”

Now they’re writing tunes together as well, including a possible Broadway musical. Hey, if Huey Lewis can do it…


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