Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: April 25th, 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish (limited)
Jew Cup, a.k.a. J Cup is a drinking game for four players, split into teams of two.
The source learned the game when he first came to USC. It was popular among the upperclassmen in the School of Theatre. He learned it from his older brother, who was a senior at USC when the source arrived. The exact origins of the game are unclear and contested, but it is agreed that it was invented by a group of guys who graduated in 2008. They lived in the so called “Raymond House”, which was a popular hang out for theatre students before the source came to USC. The game was passed down through the students in the BFA Acting program, but has started dying out. To the best of the source’s knowledge, J Cup has not been played on USC campus in at least two years, but may still be played by the originators elsewhere.
J Cup is an amalgamation of many popular drinking games, especially beer pong, and has complex rules. It is often referred to as “more of a drinking carnival than a drinking game.”
Like beer pong, J Cup is played on a table with cups and ping pong balls, but the set up is entirely different. In the center of the table is a large cup, filled with beer. This cup surrounded by smaller plastic cups, also filled with beer, in the shape of a Star of David, hence the game’s moniker: Jew Cup. On either side of the table there are two plastic cups (a total of four), filled with beer. On the ends of the table, each team has a wash cup filled with water for rinsing the ping pong balls, behind these each team has a crushed beer can on the very edge of the table.
The teams take shots to determine who goes first, the first team to sink a ball in any cup in the middle goes first. A winning team from the previous round always shoots first.
The teams then take turns trying to sink the ball in the center cups. If a ball lands in any of the cups making up the Star of David, the other team has to drink the content of that cup, and place it in a stack on the left side of the table. If both players on one team make shots, they get to throw again. If they make it into the same cup, they get the balls back, and the other team has to drink three cups. This is where the similarities with beer pong end.
If a player sinks a ball in the big, center cup, both teams run to the side of the table to their right, and play flip cup, another popular drinking game, with the cups on the sides. The team that loses flip cup must consume two cups from the Star of David, chosen by the winning team.
If a player sinks a ball in the opposing team’s wash cup, both team members must shotgun a beer. The rules for the crushed beer can behind the wash cup are complicated. Instead of trying to sink a ball in a cup, a player can attempt to knock the opposing team’s beer can off the table. If they succeed and the can hits the floor, the opposing team members must both take a shot of whiskey. If, however, a player hits the beer can, but the opposing team catches the can before it hits the floor, the throwing team must each take a shot of whiskey.
Play is continued until all of the cups in the Star of David have been consumed. The team with the fewest empty cups in their stack are declared the winners, and hold the table until they lose to a new team.
The game to me is interesting, because the name could be construed as anti-Semitic, but other than the Star of David in the center of the cup, the game has absolutely nothing to do with Jewish people. I think its more of a reflection of the kids who lived in the Raymond House, and their desire to have a unique house game, that would draw people to parties. It must have worked too, because School of Theatre alumni from that time often recall fond memories from parties at Raymond House.