Freshman Gabe Feld­stein scrunched his nose, pursed his lips and insulted his scene partner, who asked him to dance. He had assumed the role of a so-​​called “Per­snickety Qwetzel”—an ill-​​tempered crea­ture with an inde­cent mouth.

I still think you’re fat,” he said, then jogged off stage to a round of applause.

Feld­stein is a rising star in the small, but ener­getic NU and Improv’d stu­dent comedy troupe.  Per­forming at after­HOURS, last week, he slung insults, told quirky jokes about firemen in bars and invoked laughter — like a young Charlie Chaplin — through dis­tinc­tive facial expressions.

He said his face is a tool, like an artist’s brush or a ball player’s bat. As a kid, he gri­maced, sneered and cracked twisted smiles in front of his bath­room mirror.

If someone chal­lenges me to make him laugh, I’ll do some­thing with my face,” said Feld­stein, who joined the comedy troupe in the fall. “If it gets a laugh, I’ll beat it until it’s dead.”

Feld­stein owes his love for making people laugh to the stand-​​up come­dian George Carlin, a social critic whose fun­niest bits explored the most ordi­nary tasks, such as dri­ving or checking your wristwatch.

Feld­stein, who said a stand-​​up gig would be a “dream come true,” summed up the guide­lines for a good joke: “Being funny is all about making con­nec­tions,” he said. “The fun­niest things are true.”

Stu­dent Joel Marsh, pres­i­dent of the comedy troupe, praised Feld­stein, who also played the son of a man addicted to Cheeze-​​Its.

Gabe has been on fire lately,” said Marsh, a junior cinema studies and com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies dual major. “He’s really been nailing every scene.”

The same could be said for Marsh, whose comedic tool of choice is his voice. As a kid, he recorded phrases in dif­ferent accents and cri­tiqued his performance.

Last week, he played an acro­batic lep­rechaun from New Zealand who helped his scene partner make s’mores by a camp­fire by tossing him choco­late and large branches.

I try not to think about any­thing else before a scene,” said Marsh. “The hardest part is get­ting ner­vous, or saying some­thing un-​​funny.”

Judging by the audience’s uproar­ious reac­tion to his nimble-​​footed crea­ture, he won’t have to worry about hit­ting a sour note. “Stu­dents,” he said, “love these shows.”