The Big Joe Polka Show

I like to think of The Big Joe Polka Show as polka’s answer to American Bandstand. Just replace the TV studio with a large plywood dance floor in an Elk’s Lodge, the awkward teens with polka dancing seniors, and Dick Clark with the charming “Big Joe” Siedlik and his loud, accordion-patterned vests.

For more than 25 years, Big Joe was a polka radio king, spinning a popular mix of Polish, Czech and German polka records for listeners in the Midwest. After retiring from radio, he moved to television and now showcases live polka bands and dancers on his program which airs nationwide on RFD-TV, “Rural America’s Most Important Network.”

Later this month, Big Joe will film a series of shows at the RFD-TV Theater in Branson, Missouri. It’s a big deal for the bands chosen to perform and they’re coming from all over the country — the Polka Chips from Alaska, Smilin’ Scandinavians from Washington, Phocus from Buffalo, and many more.

One of polka’s biggest promoters, Big Joe likes to say that “polka tots make polka teens, and polka teens make adult human beings.” This clip is proof of that, as Big Joe welcomes (and teases) the younger members of Colorado’s Polka Nuts:


  1. Folkafest is unwatchable. Blah bands. Blah everything.
    Big Joe was hokey, some of the bands awful. But watching them and the regular dancers was fun. I recorded one Big Joe Show and watch frequently.

  2. I never knew so many people were entertained by BJ.
    I grew up in Milwaukee with Fritz the Plumber and the Six Fat Dutchmem.. BJPS was like being back in the 50’s except the Texas crew did the two-step instead of the polka or schottisch. I got a big kick watching the No. Wis bands like the Chimelewski’s.

    PolkaFest has no character(s). I hope Big Joe wins a lot of money and buys RFD.


  3. Hi everyone. I spoke with Big Joe this afternoon. He is in the process of putting his 2009 Buffalo, Nebraska and other tapes on TV. He needs the following information from various TV outlets across the country. 1. Local TV stations channel numbers.
    2. Address of each TV station.
    3. Phone number for each one.
    4. email this information to
    Attention Big Joe.
    If everyone gets aboard we can start watching Big Joe Polka Shows in the very near future. By the way the Polka Bands in Buffalo were terrific.
    Lets all get aboard.

  4. My mother is 93 yrs. old and she watched Big Joe Polka show every Wed. & Sat. night now that Big Joe is no longer on she is going to cancel her subscription to the RFDTV magazine. We were at one of Big Joe`s taping`s at Medina Minn. and we truely enjoyed every minute we were there. Hopefully RFD will take him back or he will get a show. These new shows that they have on now are terrible and I wouldn`t watch them if they were the only show on TV.

  5. I just got an e-mail from one of our friends that talked to the new host and told me that the shows that they are showing right now are only going to be played until the new program with the new host Molly B starts. They are going to record a bunch of bands in Wahoo Nebraska in June, and they said they were making a big change from the polkafestival shows that are on now and improving the audio and video quality and that their going to be recording some great bands there. She told me that the new shows are supposed to start sometime in July. I will wait to pass judgement until I see the new shows.

  6. My husband and I enjoy watching the Big Joe Polka show. when will it be on again? My huusband is blind and cannot hear well, but his entire attention is on the show when we can get it.please advise as to time, place etc.
    Thanks so much J. Johnstone

  7. What happened to “Big Joe’s” Polka program? IS Big Joe ok, healthy wise? IS he coming back to Polka Time?

    Thank you.

  8. Big Joe’s Polka Show was very enjoyable. The bands were good, and the dancers were great. Thanks to Joe for the past shows.

    When Joe comes back, I hope the show will be available on cable (Comcast).


  9. Big Joe was a big fun guy, who always had a kind word to say about everyone. He was kind of corny, but always sincere about his comments. Couldn’t help but like the ole fellow.

  10. Mollie Busta can hammer my dulcimer any time she wants !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Now that Joe appears to have gone the way of Bob Villa, we have to wonder where he will turn up? Is there another network out there as desperate as RFD to pick up his train wreck of a show? I say show the reruns and don’t give that fat bastard a dime!! Let us enjoy the blue hair, sequin outfits, mullets, tube sox, and mind numbing umpa music Big Joe has brought to us over the years. He left the Polka Nuts destitute and playing church festivals when they could be headlining Wembley. Stick it to Joe before he sticks it to you.

  12. We’re good friends of a lady who is part owner of Starlite Ballroom by Wahoo, Nebraska.

    They threw Big Joe out of the ballroom for not paying what he promised. Apparently he’s better at running off at the mouth than he is at paying his bills. Also, I ordered two CD’s from his store. Both were defective. They’ve promised several times to replace them, but I haven’t seen any yet. He’s basically an obnoxious fraud.

  13. We like Polka Joe. Dillon is 15 years old he has cebral palys…. How can we get some videos and cds..?? Grandma got him hooked on Polkas and he always wants me to look up polka Joe..kinda surprised nothing on

  14. Bring Big Joe back! He had the best bands on his show, polka music at it’s finest! His show was much better than Mollie B and her attempt to replace him!

  15. Mollie B is not trying to replace BJ. She and RFD will be doing a show all of their own. These shows will be captured at large fests with quality bands, unlike BJ. Many of the great bands would have nothing to do with BJ and his unprofessional production. May Mollie and RFD have great success with “Mollie B’s Polka Party.

  16. bring on the polka music polka musicc is happy music

  17. WE don’t need Polks Joe. He doesn’t even pay all of his good bands that come. He promised one band a CD of their playing and never kept his promise. WE need an honest person to take his place.

  18. That honest person is Mollie B. Can’t wait to see her new program on RFDTV. Go Mollie!!!!!!!!!

  19. I think all the support for Big Joe is GREAT! However it makes me sad to read the comments from the people that are willing to run their mouth without having the facts.

  20. “I heard from my friend that has a band that heard from their friend” Blah Blah Blah. Get the facts before you pass judgment.

  21. My husband and I just love Polka music. I grew up with it. Even though Mu Father came from Italy when he was a young man, this was his music. He had a radio outside and would play it loud so everyone could hear. My husband and I used to go dancing every weekend when we lived in Conn. Since we moved to South Florida we do not have Polka dances. So I was so Happy to see Big Joes Polka on TV. Now I miss him very much and hope he will be back someday.

  22. Does anyone know where I can purchase Big Joes Polka on DVD? Thank you!

  23. they have an online catalog. and one of the above posts has a email address, it has hope this helps.

  24. We danced to the Polka Joe show in October 2010 and have never seen it on TV. The Bumble Bees played and incidentally they were the best band there. Anyway, they say they never got a CD of when they played as Joe promised. What a fake he is. I am glad to not see him anymore. And not keeping his promis to the ownersw of the Starlite Ballroom just takes the cake. Good ridance, Joe.

  25. No one will ever replace Big Joe in our hearts. He may have been corny but we love him. The new show on RFD is ok but no where as good. Can’t watch it for more than ten minutes.

  26. Its a shame that Big Joe is no longer on RFD and there are lawsuits pending on both sides. Its a sad day when Polka is reduced to lawyers in a courtroom. Why can’t we all from polka countries, such as the German, Polish, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Ethiopian, Swiss, Swedish, Russian, Cambodian, Estonian, Hungarian, Somali, Bulgarian, Romainian, Maltese, and Tennessean celebrate as one to “Happy Music for Happy People.” More polka would mean less wars and less wars would mean more polka, just not with Big Joe. Why not outfit our leaders of the world in Lederhosen (no pun intended)? I believe we should all be grateful that at one time or another, we were able to see the polka nuts, with that young wiz kid on the dulcimer Kevin, on the Big Joe Show live or in recordings. I for one hope that BJ and RFD settle their differences and both can get on with providing the nation what the nation needs, more home spun polka from those great countries I mentioned above. I especially miss the Ethiopian polkas and the way BJ would introduce the the band in the form of forty Armenian orphans. God Bless.

  27. Dan, I agree with you about Kevin from the Polka Nuts. He is one hot dude.

  28. No, kevin is not “one hot dude.” He is a dulcimer prodigy, with a wicked mullet, whose musical ability is cherished by many polka fans, including the forth Armenian orphans who consider him a polka icon to be cherished.

  29. Was just a compliment….thats all, I’ve had a crush on him for years….maybe someday????

  30. I don’t know if I’d call Kevin ?McCallis? a prodigy. He was turning 21 at the time and 3 of the 4 people currently in the Polka Nuts can play the dulcimer as seen last night. He did have a great mullet though.

    I guess no one here is commenting on current shows regarding who from the 1989 Omaha BJPS showed up at the June Mollie B Polka Party? I’m fairly certain that the guy in red polo shirt & shorts + glasses dancing last night when Polka Joy was playing was “The Kid/Red Pants Dork/Peter Pan/Robin Hood” from 1989. I’ve also seen what looks like Kenny? (the gray haired guy who always danced with Flo/Lucille & her group) wearing black & white in most of these shows + possibly his wife?? Barbara? (heavy set who usually wears Polk-of-A outfit who rarely dances, didn’t see her last night). Also a couple others we didn’t have names for. Although it’s hard to tell what people would look like 22 years later. It looks like Bobby Z still has same drummer + 1 of the accordion players. I wish Mollie B would’ve asked ‘Who is here dancing that was also on the BJPS?” There are also a few from the Polkafest shows & the BJPS 2000’s version from Branson, etc. The bald guy in suspenders who stomps around like he’s in a marching band & the lady who hops around like the “Cheerleader” used to were both on Polkafest in MN. The lady with long white hair was also on Branson? BJPS.

  31. does anyone know if “Polka Paul” from Omaha,Nebska has been on Mollie B? We saw Pete (that usually does 3-laps to everyone else’s once around the floor. And Barb & Roy. Larry Jo and Bonnie. I think I saw the Polka King, not the Queen yet. Haven’t seen Polka Lincoln…but really been straining to see Polka Paul…he always stood out with his light purple vest, and” Sunny Bono” hair do. I think Molly should have Polka Joe on as a guest,. After all, turn around is fair play.

  32. Where is Big Joe’spolka show. Bring him back on
    That was the best show on there. And also put more
    of the polka nut’s on because they are the best band
    out there. Let them play longer.

    We don’t like the Molly B show as she has too many orchestra’s bands and not enough bands like the Polka Nut”s….. Please RFD TV bring Big Joe back……..

  34. I’m a Mollie fan and I think her show is a great improvment to the RFD-TV network. But tonights show with Kavas Band was the worse TV i’ve seen in a long time. Of course this is the first clunker since the show started. Mollie please keep your eye on the talent. Trust me this band will be remembered for a long time. But not in a good way.

  35. I miss:
    Polka Paul (s.bono hair, lol)
    Abe Lincoln
    The lady who stands behind polka pual in the intro
    Sweathy Betty
    Crabby King
    The nerdy polka nuts
    THe cafeteria queen
    Jeanie and her sappy interviews
    and most importantly, POLKA JOE!

  36. I miss:
    Polka Paul (s.bono hair, lol)
    Abe Lincoln
    The lady who stands behind polka pual in the intro
    Sweathy Betty
    Crabby King
    The nerdy polka nuts
    THe cafeteria queen
    Jeanie and her sappy interviews
    and most importantly, POLKA JOE!

  37. I was wondering if you invite different Polka Bands on your show? My dad has his own Polka Band “The Jim Gorman Trio” for the past 40 + years now. He absolutely loves the Polka Joe Show and watches it religiously. His love is for music and in fact 1 yr. ago we as a family went to Ireland and he played in a Pub. It was the hilight of the trip! He plays almost every weekend still at the age of 82. He has many many followers. If there was a chance for him to be on the show would be amazing! Thank You….

  38. Just heard that Big Joe passed away. You were the best!

  39. I want to share a cool dream that I had just a few minutes ago. I thought that i was polka joe’s cameraman, What fun to travel with a big shot like him, an hit the big his in all these cool towns. JEANNIE STILL ROCKS!!!

  40. Big Joe did not pass away……just his career….LOL

  41. I understand loyality. And also that Big Joe had a lot of loyal fans. Big Joes Polka show was on for quite a long time. And for the most part Big Joe was a nice enough guy and did his job that some feel was silly or corny. But none of that matters when the public demands more for a show the network bosses will and do listen. I was a fan of Big Joes, However I’m now a fan of Molly B, and will not let spite ruin a wonderful time listening and enjoying the new Polka show.

  42. Hey Linda Taylor! Are you still around? Do you have a life anymore since Big Joe left us? I’ll call him and chat with him once in a while.

  43. Hey Linda, that was weird. I didn’t mean to send that last post. It wents by itself! I was just wondering if you still visited the Big Joe blog. I was watching an old rerun of Lost in Space and I though I saw you doing the polka on the rock and roll hippie episode! I just came back to the site and was reading your old blogs. You were too funny. Write back if you haven’t grown up yet!


  44. Hey Richard! I haven’t checked in to this blog since our old pal Joe went off the air. I do miss talking here to you and to Irene. Now that I know you are here I will check in more often.

  45. Hey Linda…Cool! I’ve been checking this site every so often hoping for some recent comments. We’re still doing well and still here…the Mayans were wrong. We got through Christmas…next is New Years. When Richard comes over in a little while, I’ll tell him you’re still around… alive and kicking!
    Keep those cards and letters coming!…Cathy

  46. Hello again Richard & Cathy,

    How I wish the old Joe re-runs were still on. I haven’t had a good laugh since they went off. There just isn’t anthing like it around. It ws sort of a “Slovick Mystery Science Theatre”. Ha ha.

  47. Hello Linda!!!!

    We tried watching the new Polka show with ‘what’s-her-name’ (which is exactly the point…everyone’s forgettable!) It’s horrible!
    I have my framed, signed picture of Big Joe on the wall in the living room and that’s the way I get my BJ Fix. Oh well…life goes on.
    Good to hear from you…
    Cathy & Richard