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New York Comedy Festival: Acts to catch at this year's showcase

With just two weeks to go before Thanksgiving and the start of the often-stressful holiday and tourist season, New Yorkers could use a little laughter.

For the 12th year, the New York Comedy Festival is obliging by bringing more than 200 comedians to perform at more than 60 shows, from Nov. 10-15. Among the festival’s biggest names are Judd Apatow, Bill Burr, Billy Crystal, Sarah Silverman and Trevor Noah. Here are some other shows – both big and small – to hit. For more information: nycomedyfestival.com.

Stand Up for Heroes

Stand Up for Heroes - For the ninth
Photo Credit: Getty Images/ Andrew H. Walker

Stand Up for Heroes - For the ninth year in a row, the New York Comedy Festival kicks off with Stand Up for Heroes, a star-studded benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps injured service members and their families. To date, the event has raised more than $27 million. This year it features, Jon Stewart, Seth Meyers, John Oliver and Bruce Springsteen, among others. (Tuesday, The Theater at MSG, $105 - $5,005)

Sporkful Podcast

Sporkful Podcast w/ Dan Pashman featuring John Hodgman,
Photo Credit: The Sporkful with Dan Pashman via Facebook

Sporkful Podcast w/ Dan Pashman featuring John Hodgman, Jo Firestone and Brooke Gladstone – Since it started in 2010, WNYC’s Sporkful podcast has tackled food related topics ranging from office fridge food theft to the ethics of nacho eating. On this night podcast host Dan Pashman and comedian John Hodgman will debate an age-old question: "Are hot dogs sandwiches?" (Tuesday, 8 p.m., The Bell House)

Robert Smigel

Kliph Nesteroff Presents Robert Smigel: A Discussion in
Photo Credit: Jeff Moore via Flickr

Kliph Nesteroff Presents Robert Smigel: A Discussion in Celebration of "The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy" -- Part history lesson, part laugh-fest, author and historian Nesteroff will talk about his new book, which explores the ways comedians have affected American culture over the last 100 years. He'll be joined by Robert Smigel, who is best known for his "TV Funhouse" segments on "Saturday Night Live" and for creating Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Union Hall)

Nathan for You

Nathan for You: Sneak Peak and Q &
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Pierre Rousseau

Nathan for You: Sneak Peak and Q & A - Comedian Nathan Fielder will offer fans a preview of clips from his Comedy Central series "Nathan for You," in which he "helps" business owners by offering them advice that ranges from the offbeat to theflat-out crazy. Expect a lot of questions about his most famous stunt, where he re-branded a California coffee shop as "Dumb Starbucks." (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. NYU Skirball Center)

Mortified

Ever wonder what it would be like if
Photo Credit: Philippa Willitts via Flickr

Ever wonder what it would be like if someone broke into your apartment and read your diary, letters and poems from your teenage years? At Mortified, people do it to themselves, sharing their teen angst with a room full of people. Stories range from first kisses to prom nightmares to the reasons they deserved to marry Jon Bon Jovi. In addition to live events the show has spawned a documentary, a podcast, a TV series and two anthologies. (Thursday, 8 p.m., Littlefield)

What I Did For Love

If Mortified is all about people going onstage
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Toth

If Mortified is all about people going onstage to embarrass themselves, this show offers a chance for comedians embarrass the audience. Some of the top improvisers from the UCB will interview an audience member about his or her love life, then turn it into a performance. (Saturday, UCB East Village, 10 p.m.)

Kate Berlant and John Early

These two best friends and up-and-coming comedians are
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Raffi Kirdi

These two best friends and up-and-coming comedians are frequent collaborators. Berlant is often described as an experimental comedian, known for inhabiting offbeat characters like self-help gurus and professors. Early has won praise for both his sketch and standup work. He has appeared on "30 Rock," "Broad City" and "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp," and hosts a monthly variety show, "Showgasm," at Ars Nova. (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., The Bell House)

Kumail Nanjiani

For much of his career, Nanjiani didn’t want
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez

For much of his career, Nanjiani didn’t want to talk about his Pakistani heritage in his comedy. He eventually changed his mind and won a lot of fans for the insightful way he discussed the culture shock of moving to the U.S. and the stereotypes and lack of understanding he has encountered. He also has a recurring role on HBO's "Silicon Valley" and hosts two podcasts -- one about videogames, another about "The X-Files." (Saturday, 10:00 p.m., NYU Skirball Center, $35)

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