Jazz Hands

Jazz Hands

Updated Dec 27, 2010 at 09:55AM EST by Brad.

Added Dec 05, 2009 at 08:27PM EST by Horseeater.

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Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Jazz hands, in performance dance, is the extension of a performer’s hands with palms toward the audience and fingers splayed. It is commonly associated with especially exuberant types of performance such as musicals, cheerleading, and show choir. In cheerleading, the position with arms outstretched and fingers wiggling up and down is sometimes referred to as spirit fingers.

However, the dance itself is not the meme. It is the wide variety of image macros that have become the meme. The pictures used are typically cats, waving their hands in the air, or simply holding their hands up.


The origin of the dance is unknown, but it was featured quite often in the movie The Jazz Singer, from 1927, which starred Al Jolson. It was popularized in the late ’90s/early ’00s by the musical Fosse. The meme is probably a product of Caturday on /b/. It is likely that the first macro of a Jazz Hands cat is either this image:

of which the earliest is from Feb 09, 2007, in knitemare.org’s cats index.

[If anyone has more luck than me finding the original post and its date, that would be greatly appreciated]

or this image:


Jazz Hands is still a popular phrase used in images on ICanHasCheezburger, the lolcat site. Recently, a video erupted, with over 8 million views in its first two months, featuring a kitten being tickled and, when not, presenting what seems to be jazz hands.

A number of websites have written about this video, and the cat’s jazz hands, such as Urlesque and Lawrence.com.

The recent large spike is likely to do with the above video.

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