Entertainment law news: Comedienne’s in-law jokes will not die, despite lawsuit

05/10/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

West Palm Beach, FL—Have you ever heard the story about the mother-in-law suing her daughter-in-law for making jokes on her expense? Well, there’s no joke there, it’s a true story! Sundra Croonquist’s right to make fun of her in-laws during her stand-up routine was upheld by a U.S. Federal Court on May 4, 2010, as reported by the National Post.

Last year, Croonquist’s mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law sued the comedienne for putting them up for public ridicule. In Croonquist’s act, she makes fun of the cultural differences of her Jewish in-laws. Croonquist is half African-American and half Swedish herself.

A judge ruled that the mother-in-law jokes, which are a long time and often over-used genre of comedy, were “clearly statements of opinion and not fact and therefore protected by the First Amendment.”

Croonquist, who was very upset that her family had sued her and felt pressure to win the case stated to ABC-TV that, “Can you imagine, Rodney Dangerfield not being able to make a mother-in-law joke? I was petrified. Suppose I lost, there would be no mother-in-law jokes.”

Croonquist says she plans to continue to use the in-law jokes in her act.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for entertainment attorneys.

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