During the filming of Wag the Dog (1997) Dustin Hoffman, his co-star Robert De Niro and director Barry Levinson had an impromptu meeting with President Bill Clinton at a Washington hotel. "So what's this movie about?" Clinton asked De Niro. De Niro looked over to Levinson, hoping he would answer the question. Levinson, in turn, looked over to Hoffman. Hoffman, realizing there was no one else to pass the buck to, is quoted as saying, "So I just started to tap dance. I can't even remember what I said."
The talk show phone number, (800) 555-0199, is common to many films and television shows because this is the only number that has been reserved by the phone company as an allowable "fake" 800 number for media usage.
The scene in which shoes laced together are hanging from telephone and electric wires was shot on East Capitol Street a few blocks behind the U.S. Capitol. The production crew left several pairs of shoes behind and they remained hanging on the wires for years.
The political talk show at the end of the film lists its phone number as 1-(800)-555-0199. This number is also Lester Burnham's office number in the film American Beauty (1999) as well as Lowell Bergman's fax number in the film The Insider (1999)
The 'American Dream' segment with the choir singing is a clear spoof at the USA for Africa's 'We Are the World'. 'Willie Nelson' - who plays Johnny Dean in this film and conducts the choir - was one of the many artists who appeared singing at the 'We Are the World' clip.