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Local comic's in-laws sue over family jokes

May 5, 2010 12:56:57 AM PDT
A local comic's jokes made a lot of people laugh, but not her in-laws - they sued her for making them the butt of her jokes in her stand-up routine."I'm a black woman with a Jewish mother-in-law," comedian Sunda Croonquist says during her act.

Croonquist is half Swedish, half African American, and married into a Jewish family. She has a lot to talk about, but last year, some of her material went a little too far for her in-laws.

"One line is that I said that when I met my mother-in-law for the first time, I realized that Jews can't whisper, 'cause I met her, and I said, 'It's such a pleasure meeting you,' and she said, 'Have a seat, Eliot put my pocketbook away,'" Croonquist said.

Croonquist was sued by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law last April. They argued that her material was holding them up to public ridicule.

"I felt dirty, I felt sick, I felt so bad. I felt betrayed," she said.

However, she received good news on Tuesday. A judge threw out the case, saying her statements were opinions and not fact, and even what she said about her sister-in-law, the judge said, was all protected under the First Amendment.

"My sister-in-law is a Jewish broad that has this north Jersey dialect ? like a cat in heat," she said.

Croonquist says the ruling is a victory for all comedians.

"Can you imagine, Rodney Dangerfield not being able to make a mother-in-law joke," she said. "I was petrified. Suppose I lost, there would be no mother-in-law jokes."

As for her routine, she says she'll continue with the in-law jokes.


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