‘I get threats, I get sworn at’: Iran’s taboo-busting female standup star

The Guardian | : Zeynab Mousavi has found fame in country where standup comedy is relatively new and where being a female performer is frowned upon

As a 28-year-old woman born and raised in the holy city of Qom – the Vatican of Iran’s Shia Islam – Zeynab Mousavi is breaking numerous barriers to become the country’s first female standup comic to find fame, and notoriety, on a national scale.

Mousavi has found legions of young fans, but has also touched a nerve in a country where standup comedy is relatively new, and being a female performer remains taboo for many.

“Being a female standup comedian in Iran is like competing in a swimming competition whilst you are three metres behind the starting line and your hands and legs are tied,” she told the Guardian, referring to a comparison one of her fellow comics has made.

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