Sunda Croonquist | Black Swede Comedian Sued By Jewish MIL
A world without comedy is what she wants, eh?
Then Sunda Croonquist’s mother-in-law can have it. If we’ve reached the point where we can no longer poke fun at each other, then society has reached the point where its trappings are no longer of interest for me anymore. If nobody can prove to me that comedy still has a place in this life, then I’ll head for the trees and live the remainder of my life in “George of the Jungle” style. I’ll just have to track down two young wives, develop an affinity with jungle creatures and watch out for that tree. Or at least get my hands on easy loans for a collection of crash helmets.
Considering that I’ve lost one wife, I’ll need to redouble my efforts…
The Associated Press reports at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gntGLagH0ecSgNx1EHvRFMYI8hUgD9AA1UJG0 that the half-black, half-Swedish comedian (and former Miss America runner-up) has pushed her Jewish mother-in-law Ruth Zaffrin, sister-in-law Shelley Edelman and Shelley’s husband Neil one matzo too far. See the video below and you’ll get a flavor for her act. She brings up her mother-in-law a lot because she is a character, because she is genuinely funny. It isn’t an off-color race joke or religion joke that she uses… Sunda Croonquist appears to be a clean, skilled comedian.
Read them the charges, Steve
The yenta has accused Croonquist of “spreading false, defamatory and racist lies.” It’s all in the regular rotation of her act, which she performs in nightclubs and on various Comedy Central programs. To Croonquist, it’s natural observational humor that is most often based on the culture clash between an older white Jewish woman and a young black Swede who was raised Roman Catholic. Here’s a sample from her act, where MIL is speaking to DIL:
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.
It’s harmless stuff
And if what Sunda Croonquist says is accurate, her mother-in-law used to think so, too. They used to watch tapes of her act. “They played my tape at Passover one year, and they loved it!” she said.
Perhaps it was that little slip on her Web site. While promoting upcoming shows in New Jersey, Croonquist gave a little bit too much information – information that apparently made it easy to discern the identities of her in-laws. Hence, the suing began in the grand American tradition of “it’s funny until the mask comes off. Now give me my money.” Damages are being sought in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, and they’re demanding that Croonquist remove “any offensive statements from her Web site, routines and recordings.”
Humorless, like the color of woolen phlegm
Are we really so humorless now? Goodness knows we need humor more than ever in an increasingly bleak world. Sunda Croonquist has agreed to remove the statements, but she refuses to pay damages. Now the courts get to latch on and suckle for all they’re worth. Interestingly, her lawyer husband’s firm is representing her in the lawsuit. Wonder how mom likes that?
Get over it, mom
Her recent act is mostly clear of the whole in-laws thing, but not entirely. No first names anymore, but it’s still very solid material. For instance, when she meets her Jewish New Jersey sister-in-law, the sister says, “Oh my Gawd, look at her, she’s got light eyes and light hair. What kind of black person is she?”
Sunda responds in her best “street” voice, “A black person who can hear, that’s who.”
It’s tame material
“They’re nice jokes,” says Croonquist.”There’s nothing bad, nothing defamatory.” Plus Sunda turned Jewish before she met her husband and has kept a kosher home ever since. Do you seriously think she’s an anti-Semite, Ruth?
Prove it wasn’t just a joke
“Most people who sue under these kinds of circumstances are way too sensitive,” First Amendment law expert Gary Bostwick told the AP. “If they contact a lawyer like me I would tell them that, without seeing the script and the blog I have no idea who is right and who is wrong, but I do know there is a very strong defense: It’s very difficult to prove that it was not just a joke.”[get started_button float=”right”]
While Ruth Zaffrin’s action could have broken up Sunda Croonquist’s marriage, the comedian rolls with it like a healthy, optimistic person. She claims that if she’d known that was coming, she’d have “tried to make a worse first impression.” She would have tried to make a worse first impression, perhaps something more gangsta. Picture a little of Queen Latifah meeting Steve Martin in the clunker “Bringing Down the House” and you get the idea.
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