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Cool, Creative and Funny High-Fives

Updated on November 14, 2017

The Top 5 Cool High Fives (And a Little High Five History)

High fives get a bad rap sometimes. "The Todd," the high-fiving-addicted character from the TV show Scrubs, is a prime example. He's the kind of dorky, or just plain obnoxious, high-fiving dude who we all learn very quickly to avoid. But are all high-fives bad?

No, of course not. High fives have a long and colorful history. Have you ever wondered where high-fiving got its start? You'll learn about the story right here in this article. We'll also look at some of the best variations on the standard high five. From the turkey high five to various other cool high five tricks, here are some of the best skin-slapping alternatives as supplied by a middle-school class of high-fiving young people. Why be boring and dispense regular old high fives, which, let's face it, are pretty dorky to begin with? Why not try a little variation in your duplex gestures of excitement? So here they are, straight from the high-five research and development lab of Creative PDE (Public Displays of Excitement) -- the top 5 (of course) high-fives available to people for whom a simple "hi" or "alright" just isn't enough.

all images wikimedia commons/public domain

Why Only Five? - Because, well -- it's pretty obvious, right?

giraffe time!
giraffe time!

Funny High Five Number 5:

The Giraffe

If you must high-five, why not add to the world by doing something just a little bit surprising? The Giraffe begins as a regular old high-five -- they'll never see it coming. At the last minute, instead of meeting your partner's palm, your fingers all bend flat at a 90-degree angle to mimic the snout of a giraffe. "What is it?" wonders your counterpart? Giraffes don't talk (or even make noise -- do they?), so you need to make it clear to your victim by shouting "giraffe!" The denied high-five is immediately forgiven because, hey, everybody likes giraffes.

A variation on The Giraffe has been gaining traction in the high-fiving world: The Swan. The look is the same, a long neck and a noble beak, and like giraffes swans are essentially mute. You need to rely on the narration -- "swan!", in this case -- to tell the difference.

High Fives From a Master - The high-five guy from "Scrubs" shows how it's done

High Five History - Did the French Avant-Garde Film Movement Invent the High-Five?

Hauts Cinq? Mais Bon, Mon Ami!

One interesting creation story has the high-five originating in the movie Breathless, a major moment in the history of film. Of course, the term had yet to be invented, so the French never got their due. If they'd had a better branding department, we might be slapping palm and shouting "Hauts cinq, dude!"

Funny High Five Number 4:

The Spider

Your partner needs to be in on this one, so to avoid embarrassment make sure you are both on the same page. Jus as your hands are about to meet, you both become scrabbling spiders who climb upward at the same time. If you do this right it actually looks kind of creepy...also, it doesn't hurt to whisper "spider" as you crawl upwards.

An alternate version of the spider is on the rise among avid palm-slappers, and is currently being spotted in Helsinki and other hot-spots of PDE innovation. This high-five is The Squirrel. Sources inform us that you perform The Squirrel in exactly the same way as the spider, which has led some observers and high-level culture vultures to suggest that it's the same as The Spider.

It isn't. It's The Squirrel.

Image: Nuttapong /

High Five History - Did Big-Leaguers Invent the High Five in 1977?

According to some sources, Dodgers Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker performed the first-ever high five on October 2, 1977. Baker had just hit his 30th home run, which meant that the Dodgers were the first team in history to have four players with 30 dingers each. Definitely something to celebrate!

Baker rounded the bases, and when he arrived at home the next batter, Burke, raised his hand in a kind of salute. According to Baker, he didn't know what to do, so he just reached up and smacked his open palm -- "It seemed like the thing to do," he said.

And how's this for a bit of trivia -- Glenn Burke was one of very few openly gay athletes, and after his career with MLB was over he became something of a gay-pride icon. The high five, according to some sources, was adopted by the gay community of San Francisco as a kind of all-purpose greeting.

This Game is Awesome

A Little High-Five Etiquette...

Funny stuff! Check out this video for a run-down of common high-fiving mistakes.

If You Could Only Ever Use One High-Five... - Which one would it be?

If You Could Only Ever Use One High-Five...

See results

Funny High Five Number 3

The Near Miss

Careful with this one! It's very easy to miscalculate and wind up crashing hands in a fiery explosion. As the name suggests, this high-five is a total whiff, a non-meeting of hands. The trick is to act as if you had just delivered the greatest high-five of all time: excited, triumphant. You win! Except you lose. The irony of this high-five can be overwhelming, so use The Near Miss with caution.

High Five History - Did College B-Ballers Invent the High Five?

"It's a high-five handshake!"

Some argue that the high five wasn't invented by Dusty and Glenn at all. According to Wiley Brown and Derek Smith, teammates on the University of Louisville Cardinals basketball team, they were history's first high-fivers.

It began as a regular "low-five," but at the last moment Smith looked at Brown and uttered the immortal words: "No, up high." Brown obliged, and the result was a genuine high-five. Allegedly the announcer shouted "they're giving [Brown] a high-five handshake!"

Cool High Five Number 2

The Calculator

Not for nerds only, the calculator high-five is smart AND entertaining. And it's easy: as your partner raises his or her open palm, say "calculator!" and act like you are punching out numbers on your partner's palm. It doesn't matter if you get the right answer: it's really all about style points. And no matter what, the calculator high-five adds up to strange looks from the people around you.

Image: digitalart /

Ladies and Gentlemen -- Drum Roll, Please!

Because here it is, the moment Western Civilization has been waiting for... The Number One Greatest Funny High Five of All Time:

Funny High Five Number 1 - The Turkey

Do the Turkey! This is a classic funny high five that dates all the way back to at least the early 1990s. It's a holiday favorite that makes less and less sense the further you get from Thanksgiving (unless you live on a turkey farm, or your nickname is "Turkey," in which case people probably aren't high-fiving you much anyway). This funny high five is pretty much guaranteed to amuse you and random bystanders to no end. Here's how it's done: As your partner raises his or her hand, make yours into a fist with your thumb out and extended back to point behind you. Put your fist against your partner's palm -- your thumb becomes the turkey's head, and their palm becomes a fan of tail feathers! It doesn't hurt to say "gobble gobble" at this point.

Funny or Die Does It Again

High-Five Hollywood...

How many people do you recognize here?

image: By Jelson25 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What Kind of High-Fiver Are You?

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Here's your chance to vote for your favorite funny high five. We'll tally up the totals and send the results to the PDE World Headquarters for further analysis.

Which Funny High Five is Your Favorite?

See results

Honorable Mention -- The Wi-Five

Also known as the Long Distance, this is a funny high five for the tech age. Since you're at least a few feet away from your high-fiving partner, your connection is entirely wireless...

Get your friends to gather around you in a mass wi-five and what have you got? A wi-five hot spot.

There Must Be More!

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    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I like the giraffe high five the best, but I prefer the fist bump! :)

    • profile image

      Riley 2 years ago

      I must admit Im a big fan of the windmill..

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 4 years ago

      this is fun lens; I don't know the rest of High Five except The Giraffe :-)

    • profile image

      Bartukas 5 years ago

      Great lens :P

    • DocKetchup profile image

      DocKetchup 5 years ago

      Great lens! High five! My favorite was the miss. I always fall victim to the "Whoops! Too slow!" maneuver.

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 5 years ago

      Such a creative lens! Loved the videos and read all the high fives. Cool beans, thanks! Pinning to my laughs.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      In honor of Titanic's anniversary, my daughter and I invented the Titanic High 5. You graze the side of each others hands (like the Titanic hitting the iceberg) and then your hands sink. Morbid, but the 5th graders loved it.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Guess what we'll be doing at my next fifth grade class meeting? Yup. Inventing new high fives.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 6 years ago from USA

      How creative. Who know there were so many ways to "high 5". Just when I was thinking it went out of style. :)