Comedian proves that it’s never too late to follow your passion


At 91, Glen Cove resident Fred Mueller has not let his age stop him from doing what he loves — telling jokes. Mueller, who has been a comedian for 12 years, headlined his own comedy show for the first time at The Regency Assisted Living on March 9. He is a resident there.

Laughter was heard throughout the audience, which mostly consisted of senior citizens, as Mueller told each of his jokes. He received a huge standing ovation from the crowd and smiled with joy when he heard the round of applause.

“I enjoy getting up in front of people and hearing them laugh over the jokes that I am telling them,” Mueller said.

He was so popular that day that even when he checked the small sheet of paper that he had in his pocket — to make sure he didn’t forget any of the jokes — the crowd clapped.

Mueller has performed open mic comedy at libraries, coffee houses, and bars throughout New York. But he said he would have loved to be an actor but instead. In recent years, Mueller had not performed as often, so Pat Marone, chef at The Regency Assisted Living, who is also a comedian, thought it would be a great idea to have Mueller headline his very own comedy show.

“He came to me one day and he told me that he used to do comedy and he was so happy to hear that I would help him put a show together,” Marone said. “I picked some of my comedy friends who are volunteering their time and it was great to see this all come together.”

Marone also said the atmosphere at the assisted living home is a great place for people like Mueller to refuel his passion. He said he knew the residents would love the jokes that Mueller prepared.

“I hope the residents are excited but half of them are sleeping,” Marone said jokingly. “I have a lot of cooking demos here and they love that so it is great to see that they were also excited to watch Fred perform.”

Manuel Erias, who goes by his stage name, “Tugboat Manny,” also performed at the assisted living home and said that Mueller is his role model. Erias is an advocate for mental health and he said that performing with people like Mueller gives him fulfillment.

“It means so much to me to be here and to see a 91-year-old person living his dream,” Erias said. “To see the smile on his face and everyone else’s face makes me want to do this every day.”

The Regency Assisted Living has helped many people get back on their feet, including the late Marty Napoleon, a jazz pianist who performed with musician Louis Armstrong. Stella Shank, director of special projects said he had stopped playing the piano for 10 years before he arrived at the assisted living home.

“We kept nudging him to play the piano and he eventually started playing again and he even started booking gigs,” Shank said. “We gave him a rebirth and this might be the same thing for Fred so we are really excited.”

Mueller has lived in Glen Cove for only three months but he already likes the town, its residents, and everything that the assisted living home has done for him. He said he has many more jokes on his list that he did not have the chance to perform at his comedy show. He would love to share them at a performance in the future.

“I still have a good memory for jokes even though I am 91 years old,” he said.