The Shmooze

Mother-In-Law Jokes Are Kosher, Judge Rules

By Elissa Strauss

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A U.S. District Judge in New Jersey recently ruled that comedian Sunda Croonquist can continue making fun of her Jewish mother-in-law.

Croonquist, the AP reports, a half-Swedish, half African-American woman who married a Jewish man, was sued two years ago by her in-laws who were offended by her jokes. And just in case things weren’t complicated enough, her husband, attorney Mark Zafrin, acted as her defense.

In a 21-page ruling issued Friday, the judge said that her jabs at her in-laws fall under the category of protected free speech since they are clearly an opinion. For Croonquist, this means she can carry on with her routine.

“Suppose I lost, there would be no more mother-in-law jokes,” Croonquist told a reporter in an interview on KABC in Los Angeles.

On Croonquist’s website you can see footage of her riffing on her mother-in-law, describing the moment when she first met her on the way to a Passover Seder.

“The only thing we have in common is that we don’t want to get our hair wet,” she says.

Though perhaps her in-laws should take this up with uber-Jewish comedian Jackie Mason. Croonquist credits her beginnings in comedy with a “chance encounter” with Mason at a party, who enjoyed her sassy shtick and encouraged her to start doing stand-up.


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