“I need an everyday physical function,” host Mike Puma tells the crowd.

“Driving a car!” someone shouts.

Puma instructs the players on stage, “Pretend you are driving a car, then reply with a different activity using the same motion while saying the phrase — ‘try that on for size.’ Go!

Vinny “My Cousin” Russo states, “This is sign language class and I’m failing miserably, try that on for size!”

Greg “Marsh” Ceramello responds, “I’m trying to whip and nae nae [fad dance] at the same time, try that on for size!”

The audience roars and Friday Night Face Off, Long Island’s longest-running comedy improv show, is off to the races.

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HOW IT WORKS

Every Friday night at 10:30— when it looks like Theatre Three in Port Jefferson is about to close — the lights in the basement stay on. Down those stairs, the room turns into a Manhattan-style comedy club with a bar and cabaret seating for 80.

“The key to doing improv is getting your mind to trust your instincts,” says Russo, 46, of Lindenhurst, who serves as the creative director and has been with the troupe since it began in 2003. “If you think, you’re dead. Your response has to be quick and seem very natural.”

Tonight’s cast of six is divided into teams of three. They play 10 rounds of games using suggestions from the audience. The host moderates and awards points based on the amount of laughter they get and how well they played. Crowd participation is strongly encouraged.

“It’s very interactive, but there’s no pressure,” says Steve “Canuck” Zegers, 41, of Wantagh, who has been performing with FNFO for eight years. “You don’t have to interact if you don’t want to. But, if you do, you will enjoy it more.”

GAME GIGGLES

During the game Different Choice, Zegers is instructed by the crowd to “play with a puppet” and everyone involved in the scene must switch direction every time Puma shouts, “Different choice!”

Throwing a napkin over his hand, Zegers forms a puppet, saying, “He’s an earthworm [“Different choice!”] He’s a snake [“Different choice!”]. He’s Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter!” as Jamie “The Nanny” Dresher portrays a child eagerly watching.

Ceramello sets the scene: “What did I tell you about talking to strangers in a Walmart?” he says to her. “Who gives a free puppet show in aisle 7?”

Dresher says, “Can he come home with us? [“Different choice!”] Can I go home with him?”

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“I do have a van,” Zegers quips.

COMEDIC COUPLE

Zegers even met his wife, Heather “Deflector” Shields, through acting in the group.

“I thought he was funny, smart, highbrow and quick on his toes,” says Shields, 31, of Wantagh, about her husband of two years. “I found that charming.”

But the romance doesn’t stop them from competing against each other on stage.

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“When we are on separate teams, I’m going to do whatever I can to beat them,” Zegers says. “I want to win every time.”

The tone of the show is PG-13, and the subject of politics is purposely avoided.

“Whatever side you are on, we want you to take a break from it,” Russo says. “Laughter is the best medicine. We are not out to insult anyone.”

WEEKLY FIX

The players are deeply passionate about the art of improv and claim they actually need it in their lives.

“I find it cathartic that I can get onstage once a week and get out my angst, ” says Ceramello, 36, of Mastic.

“This keeps me sane,” adds Puma, 31, of Hicksville, who has the Friday Night Face Off jester logo tattooed on his arm. “It’s my escape from everyday reality.”

Even after 14 years, Russo shows no sign of slowing down.

“My wife keeps asking me, ‘How long are you going to keep doing this?’ I tell her, ‘Until they kick me out,’ ” he says with a smile. “Making people laugh is the greatest feeling. You get addicted to it.”