In a story made for an Albert Brooks film, veteran stand-up comic Sunda Croonquist is being sued by her mother-in-law. The woman is accusing Croonquist of defaming her with racist lies on television and on stage.
Sunda's routines rely heavily on the mockery of her family, using cultural references from her half-black, half-Swedish, Catholic-educated background. Yet, the aspect that has gotten her into trouble is using her Jewish in-laws as fodder for her act, specifically imitating her husband's mother...
"I'm a black woman with a Jewish mother-in-law, you know the only thing we have in common is that we don't want to get our hair wet. So you know there was drama when we got the sonogram results cause she was real excited. 'OK, now that we know you're having a little girl I want to know what you're naming that little tchotchke. Now I realize there's a difference in the background with the African-American, colored, black, whatever you people call yourselves these days. Seriously, I just don't want a name that's difficult to pronounce like Shaniqua. Because in my mind I'm thinking of a name short but delicious. Like Hadassah or Goldie.'"
Croonquist told the AP that there was a time when her in-laws would laugh at her jokes, "They played my tape at Passover one year, and they loved it," but that things changed after she posted information on her Web site promoting shows in New Jersey that the in-laws said gave away their identities. She says she'll drop any parts of her routine the family finds offensive, but refuses to meet their demands for damages.