Hopped up on goofballs. Where'd that come from?

First it was the way for un-hip old people to ask if someone was high. I hear it now more like, “Are you crazy?” I have a vague psuedo-memory of hearing it on Dragnet a long time ago but I’m not really sure.

Does anyone know the first time some described someone else as “Hopped up on goofballs”?

I don’t know if this is the origin, but the Simpsons did this in “Homer Loves Flanders” in season five (aired March 1994). Chief Wiggum pulls Ned Flanders over for erratic driving. Ned protests he isn’t “hepped [not hopped] up on goofballs,” but after he fails a field sobriety test - a church bus drives by and Ned is humiliated, and falls over - Chief Wiggum announces to the town that he is indeed “hepped up on goofballs.”

“Goofballs” originally referred to barbituarates, which came into wide use after World War 2. Presumably the term derives from “goofy.”

“Hopped up” predates “goofball,” first appearing in about 1930 and always connected to drug use. The term may have come from “hop” which was a slang term for opium.

At one time,IIRC, goofball referred to simultaneously taking a serious up and a serious down, such as heroin and crystal methamphetamine, or in a lower dose, phenobarbitol and benzedrine.

It was said to be risky at the time. The Grateful Dead (or somebody) sang, “Uppers and downers is bad for you, it ain’t like drinkin’ wine.”

I always thought it came from Dragnet. A little googling reveals direct quotes from Dragnet using the terms “hopped up” and “goofballs” (in a drug context) separately, so putting them together in one sentence was probably first done by someone parodying Joe Friday.

This sounds plausible.


“Hopped up” = “under the influence of narcotics; drugged” (Dict. of Amer. Slang; first quotation 1930; “orig. addict use, now some general use and almost no addict use”; derivative meanings also given, such as “excited; enthusiastic”).

“Hop” is also defined as opium or any narcotic drug; first quotation, 1887.

Oh, I just noticed this doesn’t contain any mention of the ‘goofballs’, but still seems pertinent to me.

This places the usage of goofball for narcotics at 1938.

Combination can’t have been far behind.

The only context I recall hearing it in is as one of those sounds bytes they play on the radio just after a station break. I’ve never actually seen Dragnet myself but I recognize the sound of it from seeing so many parodies and that was definitely Sgt. Friday.

We called that a “speedball”, and then much later, a “Belushi cocktail”.

“Goofballs” were Seconal or the like. Qualudes were Quinlans.


I’ve used the phrase “hopped up on goofballs” but I’m not sure where I’ve heard it. It may have been The Simpsons.

Well, of course ‘hopped up’ and ‘goofballs’ are old drug slang, but the specific phrase ‘hopped up on goofballs?’ Chief Wiggum, as far as I know.

The writers for Dragnet had to get it from someplace. You’ll see the term come up often in the works of William Burroughs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Burroughs

Drug use is a frequent theme in his work.

Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve never seen “being hopped up on goofballs” referring to a specific drug or way of taking drugs, so the term itself may be sort of a code word to divide the pretender from the insider.

1965(ACTUALLY 1966). Google book cite.

You can only read a snippet. But it’s for real.


I thought Frank Burns was the first to utter this memorable line. Right after the immortal “tough cheese.”

Regarding “hop”, my mother and my uncles often referred to a drug user as a “hop head”. I think I heard Red Forman in That 70s Show also utter the same term.

I think the Simpson reference is why the phrase itself is somewhat popular today, and they likely got it from Dragnet, who got it from real, yet most likely outdated street slang. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it as being anything other than anachronistic, and I remember some that said that it sounded “square.”

Didn’t Regis say something very similar to Kramer when he was promoting his coffee table books (about coffe tables)?

I know this doesn’t predate the Dragnet usage by a long shot but it is another reference at least.

I always wondered if that is what Springsteen’s singing about in that song “Glory Days”:

“He could throw that speedball by you, make you look like a fool, boy.”

Way before Simpsons and Dragnet. Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow) said it on Leave it to Beaver.

Well, certainly before the Simpsons. Dragnet–I don’t know. Many of the posters here might not realize that there were two versions of the show. Can you give us a cite for the Leave it to Beaver use?