shaggy dog story


a long joke which is not funny

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“Michael Heseltine’s SHAGGY DOG STORY is worthy of Kafka.”

Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian

Did you
know?

shaggy dog story
noun phrase

- a long joke that has an intentionally silly or meaningless ending

Cambridge Dictionary


ORIGIN

Although the origin of this term isn’t truly known, lexicographer Eric Partridge tells us that it began around 1945 with the following shaggy-dog story (which in its original form was highly detailed and took at least 15 minutes to relate):

An aristocratic family living in Park Lane, London, place an advertisement in the Times announcing a search for their lost, shaggy dog. An American answers the advertisement saying that he has found their dog in New York and will personally bring the dog across the Atlantic and re-unite it with its owners…. upon arriving at the house at the end of story, he is received by the butler who glanced at the dog, bowed, shook his head and exclaimed, in a horror-stricken voice, “But not as shaggy as that, Sir!”


IS THIS FUNNY?

There are two racehorses who grow up together. One always wins, the other always comes in second. The one who comes in second says, “We have the same trainer. We eat exactly the same. Why do you always win?”

This keeps happening day after day until the two are put out to pasture. The one who always came in second says, “Okay, nobody is watching, let’s race to that fence and you let me win.” The other horse says, “Okay”.

They race to the fence, but the one who came in second his whole life was beaten once again. He says, “Why did you do that? You said you were going to let me win?”

A farmer, standing by the fence, then says, “Imagine that, talking horses!”

Ouch! That hurt didn’t it? If not, it wasn’t a very good shaggy dog story, because shaggy dog stories are intentionally long, boring, contain irrelevant incidents, and end with a pointless or absurd punch line.


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“I can laugh at many things, but SHAGGY DOG STORIES are not my kind of humour.”


THANKS to Ursula for suggesting today’s OWAD!


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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