LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A stand-up comedian who was sued for making mother-in-law jokes has had the last laugh after a federal judge threw the case out of court.

Sunda Croonquist was sued for defamation by her mother-in-law, Ruth Zafrin, and two other in-laws who claimed she defamed them with untrue quips about their supposedly meddlesome and annoying ways.

In a 21-page opinion issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper concluded that the examples cited — including one in which Croonquist said her sister-in-law's voice sounded like a cat in heat — fell under the category of protected speech.

Croonquist, who is appearing at a Hollywood nightclub on Saturday, said it's likely she'll be telling more in-law jokes there.

Zafrin and her attorney did not return calls for comment.