One Joke Over the Line: Mother-in-Law Sues Comedian for Defamation

By Kevin Fayle on August 25, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Lots of comedians incorporate humor about their in-laws into their acts, but this is the first time I've heard of one ending up embroiled in a lawsuit because of it.

Sunda Croonquist is a longtime comedienne who regularly makes light of the culture clashes that have arisen out of her marriage and her relationship with her husband's family.  Croonquist's father was Swedish, her mother African-American.  She was raised Catholic, but married into a Jewish family from New Jersey. 

Many of her jokes sprang from this fish-out-of-water situation, and Croonquist claims that her husband's family used to enjoy the ribbing they got during Croonquist's stand-up routine. 
The lawsuit currently pending in the District Court for the District of New Jersey tells a different story, however.  In their complaint, Croonquist's mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her sister-in-law's husband claim that Croonquist regularly writes serious posts on her blog that accuse them of racism and prejudice while naming them by name.

If the allegations are true, it could remove the First Amendment protections that comedians usually enjoy for jokes and parody. 

In another odd twist on the situation, Croonquist's husband - who is an attorney - will be defending her in the suit. 

It almost sounds like something from a comedy routine, doesn't it?

Mother-in-Law Sues Comedian for Defamation
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