You know the Apocalypse is near when people can’t take a stupid joke for exactly what it is, a stupid joke. Take, for example, comedienne Sunda Croonquist.
She is being sued by her mother-in-law after making her the butt of many of her quips. Ol’ mama-in-law dearest is accusing Croonquist of spreading false, defamatory and racist lies with her in-law jokes, which have become a major part of her stand-up routines in night clubs and on television stations such as Comedy Central.
Croonquist, who is half-black, half-Swedish, grew up Roman Catholic and married into a Jewish family feels that it’s only natural she make fun of her uniquely American family tree.
One of her jokes is about her in-laws’ reaction when they found out she was pregnant with her first child:
“OK, now that we know you’re having a little girl I want to know what you’re naming that little tchotchke. Now we don’t want a name that’s difficult to pronounce like Shaniqua. We’re thinking a name short but delicious. Like Hadassah or Goldie.”
Or her first visit to her mother-in-law’s house:
“I walk in, I say, ‘Thank you so much for having me here, Ruthie.’ She says, ‘The pleasure’s all mine, have a seat.'” Then, in a loud aside, ‘Harriet, put my pocketbook away.'”
Croonquist said there was a time when her in-laws would laugh with everyone else at the black-member-of-a-Jewish-family jokes. “They played my tape at Passover one year, and they loved it!” she said.
But things changed after Croonquist, promoting upcoming gigs in New Jersey, posted information on her website that, according to her in-laws, allowed pretty much anyone to figure out the identities of the in-laws.
They sued in April in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, where they live. The action seeks unspecified damages and demands that Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her site such as routines and recordings.
Croonquist says she would drop any language her family finds offensive, but refuses to pay any settlement. Her lawyer has filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, and a judge is scheduled to hear it on Sept. 8.
Check out Croonquist doggin’ her Jewish mother-in-law: