A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 06, 2013
“What if the Hokey-Pokey really is what it’s all about?”

The Hokey-Pokey dance has the singer explain to the dancers: “You put your (leg/arm) in, you put your (leg/arm) out, you put your (leg/arm) in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey-Pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.”

“What if the hokey-pokey really is what it’s all about” is a jocular line that has been printed on many gift items, such as T-shirts, button and bumper stickers. “What if the Hokey-Pokey is REALLY what it’s all about?” has been cited in print since at least 1992. Jimmy Buffett’s song “What if the hokey-pokey is all it really is about?” was recorded in 2002.

“I was addicted to the Hokey-Pokey but I turned myself around” is another joke about the same dance.


Wikipedia: Hokey cokey
The dance follows the instructions given in the lyrics of the song, which may be prompted by a bandleader, a participant, or a recording. A sample instruction set would be:

You put your [right leg] in,
You put your [right leg] out;
You put your [right leg] in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!


SleepyShirley.com
What if the Hokey-Pokey is REALLY what it’s all about?
- Steve at WXDR 1-29-92

28 April 1999, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), “Spotlite”:
“What if the hokey-pokey IS what it’s all about?”

Riverfront Times (St. Louis, MO)
What If The Hokey Pokey Really Is What It’s All About?
By Wm. Stage Wednesday, Oct 13 1999
Amanda Tew
Secretary, Spartech Corp.
“I just thought that if that’s what it’s all about, then why am I working 40 hours a week and going to school every night when I should be “shakin’ it all about’? I mean, somebody let me know if that’s really what it’s all about—I’ll quit trying so hard. I’ll let loose a little.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Far side of the world
Author: Jimmy Buffett; Danny Begelman; Bill LaFleur; Carol Cuellar; Aaron Stang; All authors
Publisher: Miami, Fla. : Warner Bros., ©2002.
Edition/Format: Musical score : Rock music : English : Guitar songbook ed
Contents:
What if the hokey-pokey is all it really is about?

Google Books
Scout’s Honor:
A Father’s Unlikely Foray Into the Woods

By Peter Applebome
Orlando, FL; Toronto: Harcourt
2004, ©2003
Pg. 92:
He wore a T-shirt reading “What if the hokey-pokey really is what it’s all about?”

Google Books
Simple Faith:
Moving Beyond Religion As You Know It to Grow in Your Relationship with God

By Margaret Silf
CHicago, IL: Loyola Press
2012
Pg. 18:
A friend sent me a humorous greeting card with the caption: “What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?” Fair question.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Wednesday, February 06, 2013 • Permalink