Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Comedian's Worst Nightmare?

What would stand-up comedy be without mother-in-law jokes? It's a staple of the genre. But now, a comedian may be regretting that she told quite so many of them, seeing as how she's getting sued for the practice. The plaintiff? Why, of course, her own mother-in-law:
"Take my mother-in-law — please," isn't a joke you're likely to hear often these days from Sunda Croonquist. The veteran comic is being sued by her mother-in-law after making her the punchline of too many jokes.

The mother-in-law is accusing Croonquist of spreading false, defamatory and racist lies with in-law jokes that have become a staple of her routine in nightclubs and on television channels like Comedy Central.

To Croonquist, the in-law jokes seemed like a natural routine after living through one comical culture-clash moment after another: She is half-black, half-Swedish, grew up Roman Catholic and married into a Jewish family.
Wow, that sounds like a wealth of material right there.

So does the mother-in-law have a legitimate case? I think this line says it all:
Attorney Gary L. Bostwick, an expert in First Amendment law who isn't involved in the case, said suing a comedian is often difficult because courts tend to rule that it should be obvious they are joking.
Makes sense to me. What do you think? If a comedian marries into your family, is that pretty much a cue that you'd better grow a thicker skin and ramp up your sense of humor? Or does the mother-in-law have a point? Make your case in the comments.

Blowing out the candles: Happy birthday to my former protege C-Rod.

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