shaggy-dog story

Also found in: Idioms.

shag·gy-dog story

(shăg′ē-dôg′, -dŏg′)
n. Informal
A long, drawn-out anecdote ending with an absurd or anticlimactic punch line.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

shag′gy-dog′ sto`ry

a long and involved story, regarded as humorous by the narrator, often told with extraneous detail that culminates in an absurd or irrelevant punch line.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This shaggy-dog story involves the sadness of loss and the importance of friendship and family.
as shaggy-dog story or insider riddle: What links the bedraggled sunflower and the battered musical instrument that dangle from a silver wire above a steel table in Trumpet and Weed?
There is a lack of rigour in Hollywood as directors who consider themselves grand auteurs are allowed to produce shaggy-dog story films that meander to a halt.
Pic opens with an enjoyable shaggy-dog story that turns out to be a dramatization of around-the-ashtray banter on a street cornet: Amid the puffing throng, advertising exec Jimmy (Yue) nonchalantly lights a cigarette for makeup salesgirl Cherie (Yeung).
It is also an outrageous shaggy-dog story whose climax caused me to laugh aloud in shock, outrage, and delight.
DIRECTOR/WRITER M Night Shyamalan's slow-moving but effective shaggy-dog story about a 19th-century village surrounded by a forest in which live creepy beings.