The scene at Medieval Times where Chip Douglas (Jim Carrey) asks for Steven's (Matthew Broderick) chicken skin and then performs his The Silence of the Lambs (1991) impression was all improvised. During one take, Carrey asked for the chicken skin out of nowhere. After doing the "Silence of the Lambs" bit, director Ben Stiller loved it and wanted to keep it in the film even though it wasn't in the script. If you look at Matthew Broderick's face during this scene, you can tell he is cracking up. His reaction is a genuine laugh.
During filming of the scene in which the Cable Guy (Jim Carrey) plays basketball, it was discovered that Carrey could barely dribble a basketball, much less make a basket. Director Ben Stiller had Carrey mime the action without a ball and visual effects technicians added the basketball in postproduction.
Although Judd Apatow only received a credit as producer he also was one of the film's writers. He was denied a screenwriting credit by the Writers Guild of America and challenged the ruling, claiming that he wrote much of the movie's dialogue and many of the scenes. The novelization restores his credit as writer of the film.
At Medieval Times, Jim Carrey uses chicken skins to mimic the scene from The Silence of the Lambs (1991) where Dr. Hannibal Lecter uses the cut-off face of a policeman to escape. Charles Napier, who plays the arresting officer, also played one of the policemen killed by Lecter in that very scene (although he was 'only' disemboweled; the policeman losing his face was played by 'Alex Coleman').
The movie underperformed at the box office, which was generally attributed to Jim Carrey deviating from his conventional physical comedy style in lieu of much darker comedy; a switch apparently not appreciated by most of his fans. When revenues were below predictions after the film's opening, the studio tried to shift the focus of advertising towards the more physical comedy elements, by changing the original poster (which showed Carrey demonically grinning at the audience) to a screen-shot from the more lighthearted brawl at Medieval Times. Unfortunately, the strategy did very little to improve the movie's box office.
Several scenes appear in the trailer that do not appear in the film. Among these scenes are: Steven and Robin leaving his parent's house after hitting Chip with Robin looking upset and Steven telling her that Chip leaves him messages night and day and never leaves him alone. Chip walking up to Steven during the evening at his parent's and telling him to not mess with him. Another shot of Chip through the eye hole in the door after knocking excessively and yelling "Cable Guy!". Additional footage of Chip calling through the telephone wires trying to call Steven. Chip holding two beans in his upper lip to make it look like a mustache. Chip and someone else popping up from behind a couch and surprising Steven. And a very brief slow motion shot of Steven staring at something off-camera with an uncomfortable face during dinner (presumably Chip).
When Steven is telling Rick about how Robin kicked him out of the apartment, he says "I feel like Felix Unger." Matthew Broderick later played this character on stage alongside Nathan Lane as Oscar in the 2005 Broadway revival of The Odd Couple.
After Steven (Matthew Broderick) is fired from his job for the screensaver the Cable Guy installed on all the office computers, he goes into the car garage, where all the cars' headlights are flashing due to all their alarms being triggered. This scene is also a homage to the 1986 film, The Highlander.
A scene from "Play Misty For Me" can be seen in the TV near there beginning of the movie, in which Clint Eastwood's character is stalked by a woman with mental health issues, obviously an influence on the plot of The Cable Guy.
The only film Ben Stiller has directed where he has not played a main character himself. He played the Sweet brothers in this. He did, however, origina ally plan to play Chip, but decided against this during filming.
as brothers Sam and Stan Sweet, the former of whom is accused of murdering the latter. Based on the infamous Menendez Brothers (Lyle Menendez and Erik Menendez) who were convicted in 1994 of murdering their parents.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The Cable Guy uses several names throughout the film. Chip and Ernie Douglas. Larry Tate. Ricky Ricardo. But they're all false. They are taken from television shows - Chip and Ernie Douglas from My Three Sons (1960), Larry Tate from Bewitched (1964) and Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy (1951).We never find out his real name so the credits just call him The Cable Guy.
When The Cable Guy menaces Steven with a late night phone call, the novelization tells us he's making the call from Robin's air duct above her cupboard, which he was seen crawling through earlier in the movie. That's why a daddy long legs crawls across his face in the scene. And explains why he has Robin as a hostage in the next scene.