A lion tamer, disaster-relief expert and more share tips to survive Thanksgiving

Sure, you could ask a psychologist for tips on getting through Thanksgiving with your unhinged family. Or you could do even better and get the advice from intrepid New Yorkers whose extreme careers put them in stressful situations every day.

Here’s what a wild-animal handler, disaster-response coordinator and stand-up comic can teach us all about holiday survival.

‘Give them just enough rope.’

Critics are like hecklers — ignore them

Your mother has always been the judgy type, so one snide remark about your holiday tablescape might have you ready to snap. This year, conserve your strength with comedian Dylan Adler’s laissez-faire trick for handling hecklers.

“I’ve found that giving them just a little bit of space can be good for getting the room on your side,” he says. He recalls a 2018 performance at Club Cumming when an older woman in the crowd began shouting at the stage. “I think she was drunk?” Adler tells The Post. “She was wearing pearls; she looked very bougie.” The comic quickly decided against a heated confrontation. “If I were to immediately attack the heckler full on, I’d seem like the one with the problem,” he says.

Instead, Adler let the woman interrupt just enough for the rest of the audience to resent her. “The idea is to let hecklers show how disruptive they are,” he says. “Give them just enough rope.” In this case, building a coalition of crowd support allowed the following comic to squash the heckler with one pointed line. “The whole audience was like, ‘Yass!’ Because, by then, everyone wanted her to shut up.”

‘I was there for disaster relief; it wasn’t my job to judge anyone.’

Re-direct the storm

When a bitter health-care debate with your sister-in-law starts brewing over coffee, consider the evasion tactic that emergency-logistics manager Morgan Johnson developed while aiding hurricane survivors in North Carolina a few years back. “A lot of folks want to talk about their lives after a natural disaster, not just their needs,” she says. “And I was encountering a lot of people whose politics and beliefs I definitely did not share.”

Johnson’s challenge was to shut down problematic political exchanges without signaling active disagreement. “I was there for disaster relief; it wasn’t my job to judge anyone,” the Carroll Gardens resident says. Her strategy: Redirect the dialogue to focus on constructive practicalities. “I’d be like, ‘OK, question No. 5: Do you have enough water in your house for the next three days?’” Try it if you find yourself at odds with loved ones this year: Can you team up on constructing a cheese board? Build a backyard bonfire? A shared mission diminishes personal differences.

‘The animal can’t always be caged.’

Some personalities can’t be tamed

Westchester animal wrangler Cathryn Long works with everything from bears and wolves to falcons and snakes. As at many Thanksgiving gatherings, beastly behavior comes with the territory. So when her agency, All Creatures Great & Small, is commissioned for film and magazine shoots, Long must ensure the animals are comfortable and cared for on set — and keep the humans from being eaten alive.

As a possible lesson for holiday hosts, restraining the animals isn’t always best, Long tells The Post. She recalls the time a media company hired her agency to procure an adult male lion for a magazine cover shoot. “We had to figure out a way to photograph him safely,” she says. Harnesses and other restraints were nixed as too much visual interference. “So we flipped our thinking and caged the photographer instead,” she says. “We literally locked the photographer and his assistant inside a cage, and we let the lion out in the studio to pose on a platform. It worked perfectly.”

Think of that as a reminder to set self-protective boundaries this Thanksgiving. We can’t always control others’ actions, but we can fence ourselves off from them — say, by relocating to a quieter room, taking a walk outdoors or texting a sympathetic friend outside the party. “I think a lot of people don’t think like that,” Long says. “The animal can’t always be caged.”

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Strategically stand-up to bullies

Don’t fret too much over hosting the perfect Turkey Day — spectacular mistakes can make the experience. That’s a lesson Adler learned at a Williamsburg bar this month when he sustained a bloody head injury mid-set. The incident occurred at an emphatic moment, when Adler, who specializes in show-tune-style musical comedy, struck his face on a mike stand. “My cheek immediately started to bleed and puff up,” the Midtown resident says. “I thought, ‘I can’t keep singing. This hurts so bad.’ I actually started to cry.”

Adler managed a teary joke about the wound and decided to soldier on. The crowd laughed harder and cheered his resilience. “I think they were more on board with me because I was brave enough to continue. Like, ‘Oh my God, this poor person is literally bleeding in front of my eyes.’” So try not to worry about inevitable kitchen mishaps on Thursday. Once you burn the sweet potatoes, your guests will love the stuffing that much more.

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