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"Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief."
—Polonius, Hamlet

A sister trope to It's a Long Story, this is a Stock Phrase, usually pulled out when a character sums up something really complicated with a few choice words. Either that, or they're using the phrase ironically.

For example:

Character A: And then what happened?
Character B: Well, to make a long story short, I won't be going to the Noodle Emporium anytime soon.

And for the second variety:

Character 1: ...and so, to make a long story short, we ended up using two chopsticks, a scarf, a bottle of shampoo, a dead moose, and the tophat from Monopoly to make our escape.
Character 2: You call that story short?

Contrast with Short Story Long. If it's used ironically, see Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking.


Examples of To Make a Long Story Short include:
  • In the movie version of Clue, Wadsworth repeatedly says this, with the other characters always shouting "Too late!" in unison afterwards.
  • In Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Bridge sums up where he's been since the end of Power Rangers SPD: "Oh, uh, yeah, well, long story short, our mentor who's, well, a dog, got promoted to head of SPD which was run by a bird but he retired to Miami, and Sky got promoted and I got promoted. That's why I'm the Red Ranger, or will be."
  • Red Dwarf, "Gunmen of the Apocalypse":

 Rimmer: Well, if you'll just bear with me, I think I've devised a fair and equitable system of choosing who should survive. It's based on age, rank, seniority, usefulness...to cut a long story short it's me. I was as stunned as you are, which is why I demanded a recount. But blow me! If it didn't come out as me again!

 "So, earlier today, I went to get some lunch at Quizno's, but on the way I ran into Emily, who was going to Burger King instead, so we thought we might as well go to lunch together ... so, long story short, two plus two doesn't equal four anymore."

  • There's a Willie Nelson song called "To Make A Long Story Short (She's Gone)."
  • The Simpsons: Hurricane Neddy: When Ned Flanders asks Rev. Lovejoy if God is testing him, Lovejoy answers, "Short answer: yes, with an if. Long answer: no, with a but."
    • And in another episode with Grandpa Simpson telling a long, pointless story to the rest of the family...

 Grandpa: Anyway, long story short... is a phrase whose origins are complicated and rambling...

  • An episode of Veronica Mars had her friend Wallace happily taking his sweet time, now that he got to tell the story about how he weaseled information out of somebody, getting to the point. After which he summed up with, "To make a long story short..." to which she replied "Ha!"
  • Ansem Retort: Back at FOX, we had this great idea for the next plot line. It had monkeys and samurai, crazy stuff. Long story short: big chemical spill.
  • Buffy subverted this multiple times, usually along the lines of:

 Willow: Oz is a werewolf.

Buffy: It's a Long Story.

Oz: I got bit.

Buffy: Apparently, not that long.

  • Every Captain Underpants story has a chapter entitled this, usually after a character says something to the effect of "I hope this works!" followed by the chapter only having two words in it.
  • Nabari no Ou:

 Shijima: Long story short, we're bound together by destiny.

Kouichi: That's a really abridged version of the truth! It's not like that at all!

 Voodoo Lady: To make a long story short...

Guybrush: Too late.

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