Can you do the Cup Thing?

I mentioned it in my Flying Karamazov Brothers thread, but I got to thinking and I wanted to start a thread specifically for it.

The Cup Thing is hard to describe… it involves a group of people sitting in a circle, each with a cup upside down in front of them, and clapping, hitting the cup, and moving the cup around in a certain pattern. I used to do it in high school with the rest of the drama geeks, and it seems to be a thing that people in juggling communties sometimes do. A few people on LiveJournal have done it… it seems to be the same pattern no matter where the person is from.

Here is a video I made this morning to demonstrate it:

So have you seen it or done it?
Does it have another name?
Where does it come from?
Why is it so addictively fun?

A friend of mine learned this at a summer camp. She tried teaching me how to do it, but I couldn’t ever get it right. Plus, it annoyed the crap out of our coworkers, so we stopped. She did, however, teach me how to juggle. We got quite a few double-takes when folks walked by the lab expecting serious scientific effort and instead found us juggling. :smiley:

My sisters taught it to me a while back. I don’t think I could do it now.

Not that one, but we did play some games. One was the Maori stick game played with lemmi sticks and this song about passing shoes. The latter wasn’t that complicated, but it was fun.

Wow, the memories. I rock the cup thing. First learned it in high school at a Key Club conference – it was kind of cool with 300 people all doing it simultaneously. I could do it for hours without breaking rhythm.

I taught it to numerous friends, one of whom happened to be a woodwind player for the Pasadena City College Marching Band, which is also the Official Tournament of Roses Band for the Rose Parade. She taught it to the drumline, and well…let’s just say that if you’re a band geek, you know about all the sex, drugs and alcohol. So combine the cup thing with a lot bright rhythmists, a little reefer, and a lot of JD’s, and you have the greatest, most challenging drinking game ever conceived. They modified it by adding their own rhythms, which you had to remember with each new iteration, and if you screwed up - you drank. The more you drank, the more you screwed up. It was awesome. (Some people were really hurting on that 5+ mile parade route, though… :D)

I also made the mistake of teaching it to the high school colorguard I instructed last year, who utilized it at Rose Bowl games to draw attention to our hotdog stand and bring in more revenue. It spread to a few other band members and they began doing it to DEATH. After 3 hours of the “CLAP! - BANG! - SLAP! - TAP! - SLAM!” on the counter, the parent chaperones were all giving me the evil eye. The cups were confiscated a short time thereafter. (Hahahahaaaaa! I corrupted their youth! :cool: ) It also shows up at SCA events when the boffer play turns nasty and we want to keep the kids busy.

Tips for safe and fun Cup Thing play:

  • Use a flat bottom, non-fragile glass on a flat surface, preferably over carpeting or grass in case cups fly off the table. Stemware is NOT advised!
  • When drinking, do NOT play with glass! Those red plastic solo cups make the best sound and are durable (also great for kids). Waxed paper cups collapse too quickly, especially in the height of Cup Thing excitement.
  • When passing cup to neighbor, try not to accidentally physically assault them with the cup – a small pass will do.
  • Zealous Cup Thing play is encouraged, but remember - the harder you slap, the more your hands hurt afterwards. Conserve you energy.
  • Remember to pour out liquid in a suitable place before turning glass over to participate in Cup Thing play. Pay special attention to this when you are drunk.

Nothing brought a tear to my eye faster than playing the cup game at camp with every camper and counselor at every table playing.

The best part was that the cups were nearly unbreakable plastic with flat bottoms, and they made the most awesome noises when we played the Cup Thing Game.

I feel deprived. I have NEVER seen this before! From the video and descriptions, it looks like an absolute riot! Very addictive. I’ve got to talk with my daughters and learn more about this game!

You can learn the rhythm from the video. The difference with multiple people is that on the last bit where you put your hand down and then set the cup down, you set the cup in front of the person to your right instead of in front of yourself. The person on your left is setting theirs in front of you and you continue on that cup. And round and around and around it goes.

Gotcha! Thanks. This game must move very quickly and get some interesting rhythms going.

That’s so cool, OpalCat. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d love to try it with some friends. I’m sure we make a mess of it, but that will add to the fun, right? :slight_smile:

What am i missing? This looks inane and gorked.

Ohh, I am going to have seven boys between the ages of 7 and 17 for the evening. (5 of them houseguests and 1 best buddy for mine) This would be a fun thing to get them to do. I wonder if I can learn it well enough to show them between when I get home and they arrive tonight?

For those who want to learn the Cup Thing, I made another short video clip that shows the pattern slowly.

The more people you have in the group the better, and the way it typically goes is that you start out fairly slow and end up doing it really fast…

That’s pretty neat, Opal– but can you do this? :smiley:

First time I saw that was on “Full House”. I wonder how many takes it took for them (the two oldest girls) to finish.

Cup thing online… I’ve been doing Google searches…

halfway down the page

bottom row

bottom right

good pic

another pic good pic of the pass to the right

If anyone can find an actual page about the Cup Thing, I’d love to see it…

I don’t know that I’ve ever done it, but I saw it done often enough by members of my speech team in high school that I knew how it was done. (Usually there was no more than one or two cups, so I don’t think I saw it done by groups in unison as by people one at a time, with others going through the motions with invisible cups).

That’s so cool! I’m going to try to learn it next time I’m drunk! :wink:

Someone taught the rest of us how to do this during a National Honor Society fund-raising dinner…our teachers were not amused.

I had a friend in high school who knew it, I think she learned it in camp. Oddly enough it’s one of those I always wanted to learn! Thank you for the videos!

The weird thing is, I’m learning it from the video but I realize I’m learning it as the mirror image. So you’re passing to the right, but I’m passing it to the left.

Either way I nominate this as an activity for future Dopefests!