Steve Carell’s 40-Year-Old Virgin Waxing Scene Was Painfully Real


No animals were harmed during the making of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Star Steve Carell, however, didn’t get off so lightly as his waxing scene proves.

No method acting was required during Steve Carell’s waxing scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin – unfortunately for the actor, his pain was very, very real. Director Judd Apatow and Steve Carell are such comedy mainstays today it’s hard to believe The 40-Year-Old Virgin was Apatow’s directorial debut and Carell’s first starring role. The 2005 R-rated comedy sees Carell play Andy Stitzer – a hapless, nerdy electronics store employee who inadvertently lets slip to his co-workers he’s still a virgin.

Andy’s co-workers David (Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself), Jay (Romany Malco), Cal (Seth Rogen) and Mooj (Gerry Bednob) vow to help him lose his V-card. Being pretty dysfunctional themselves, however, their advice is often misguided. Case in point: Jay’s suggestion that Andy undergo painful chest waxing to get rid of “that whole Teen Wolf thing” he has going on. The resulting scene sees poor Andy have waxy clumps of hair ripped from his chest as he unleashes a stream of expletives and hilarious non-curse words to cope, including shrieking Kelly Clarkson’s name at one point – which was Seth Rogen’s idea, apparently.


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It’s important to note that part of what makes The 40-Year-Old Virgin so funny is that a good deal of the banter between characters is improvised. Unfortunately for Steve Carell, the wince-inducing wax scene was off the cuff too. Watch The 40-Year-Old Virgin’s infamous waxing scene in all its torturous glory below.

The 40-Year-Old Waxing Scene Was Real

Steve Carell’s screams of pain were all real and captured documentary-style with the help of a four-camera set-up. The rest of the cast’s reactions – Paul Rudd giggling in the background, Seth Rogen cringing, or Romany Malco looking horrified and having to leave the room – were real too. And who does Steve Carell have to blame for The 40-Year-Old Virgin’s waxing scene and all the pain it caused him? Nobody but himself. Carell co-wrote the script alongside director Judd Apatow, and not only was the waxing scene his suggestion, but it was also his idea to get his chest hair waxed for real. As mad as Carell may be, at least it resulted in one of the funniest comedy scenes in recent memory.

Why Steve Carell’s Waxing Scene Was So Painful

Steve Carrel having his chest waxed

What makes this 40-Year-Old Virgin scene all the more horrifying is that the actress playing the waxing lady (Miki Mia, How I Met Your Mother) assured the casting department she had previous waxing experience but didn’t really know what she was doing. Her inexperience in the hair removal department meant she neglected to apply a protective layer of Vaseline on Carell’s nipples before waxing. No movie has made the same waxing mistake since (especially not a Steve Carell movie). Besides, professionals (and people who simply know the correct technique) apply the wax in the direction the hair grows naturally and remove it in the opposite direction. Since chest hair tends to have a more irregular pattern than, say, arm hair or leg hair, it’s more appropriate to remove carefully-ordered patches instead of random spots in the torso. This also helps avoid waxing off an area twice, as the skin becomes extremely sensitive after one pass, let alone two. The final mistake was not applying any kind of soothing gel after waxing, which is crucial to avoid further irritation and possible infection.

If Steve Carell’s genuine screams of pain weren’t enough proof that he was really suffering while filming the iconic The 40-Year-Old Virgin waxing scene, tiny specks of blood and clearly irritated skin show just how rough the process was. Steve Carell may have been willing to lose all his chest hair for the sake of his craft, even if he had to go through hell to achieve it. Luckily, a crew member stopped Miki Mia before Carell lost a nipple in the name of comedy.

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