Shaggy Dog Stories
from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
The original shaggy dog story was about a man in Great Britain who advertised that he'd lost a shaggy dog. (This is clean, so read on. Well then, don't.) An American found a dog which he thought was the one, and after a series of harrowing adventures which the teller of the story will string out to immense length reached England and the flat of the man who'd advertised. Staggering to the door, with the dog beside him, he said to the resident, "Did you advertise you'd lost a shaggy dog?" The Britisher looked down and said, "Yes — but not that shaggy."

The point of the story, it seemed to Speer, is that one is led to expect a point, and then there is none. If the Briton had looked at the battered American when he said "not that shaggy" there might have been a feeble point in it, but as it is, there's none at all.

Other stories have been told on the model of the original, not necessarily long ones. Example: a man goes into a restaurant and proceeds to order potatoes, which he stuffs into his ears. "M'Gawd!" exclaims someone, "why are you stuffing those potatoes into your ears?" "Potatoes!?" cries the man. "I thought they were cabbages!"

Easily confused with shaggy-dog stories are surrealistic jokes, since both are double-inverted humor.
from Fancyclopedia 1 ca. 1944
The original shaggy dog story was about a man in Great Britain who advertized he'd lost a shaggy dog. (This is clean, so read on. OK, then, don't.) An American found a dog which he thot was the one, and after a series of harrowing adventures which the teller of the story will string out to great length, reached England and the flat of the man who advertized. Staggering to the door, with the dog beside him, he said to the resident, "Did you advertise you'd lost a shaggy dog?" The Britisher looked down and said, "Yes, but not that shaggy."

The point of the story, it seems to this analyst, is that one is led to expect a point, and then there is none. If the Briton had looked at the battered American when he said "not that shaggy", there mite have been a feeble point to it, but as it is, there's none.

Other stories have been told on the model of the original, not necessarily long ones. Example: A man goes into a restaurant and orders potatoes, which he proceeds to stuff into his ears. "M'gawd!" someone says, "Why are you stuffing those potatoes in your ears?" "Potatoes?" cries the man. "I thot they were cabbages!"

Easily confused with shaggy dog stories are surrealistic jokes, since both are double-inverted humor.