A veteran comedian – who appears regularly on the Hollywood circuit – has been slapped with a defamation lawsuit filed by her mother-in-law, who is apparently tired of hearing ethnic-stereotype jokes about the family.
Sunda Croonquist – who is half-black and half Swedish and married into a Jewish family – has been ordered to appear in court over allegations she spread ‘false, defamatory and racist’ lies in jokes made about her mother-in-law, Ruth Zafrin.
In the lawsuit, filed in the state of New Jersey, Zafrin is asking for unspecified damages from her daughter-in-law, as well as a court ruling that would ban Croonquist from making her the subject of jokes in her on-stage routines.
One of the many jokes in question involve the initial meeting Croonquist had with Zafrin, and how her new relative reportedly made assumptions about her based on her background.
In one bit, Croonquist jokes, “I am a black woman with the Jewish mother-in-law. The only thing we have in common is that we don’t want to get our hair wet…”
Another joke refers to the time Zafrin found out Croonquist was pregnant: “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.”
Zafrin filed the lawsuit after Croonquist reportedly posted information on her website to promote upcoming shows in New Jersey that contained information that could have put her in-laws identities in jeopardy.
Croonquist, who appears regularly on Comedy Central, has refused to pay any damages to her mother-in-law but did agree to drop the jokes from her routine. Her husband has agreed to stand behind her decision.
Her lawyers have filed a motion in court to have the lawsuit dismissed. It is scheduled to be heard by a judge early next month.