The 40-Year-Old-Virgin is arguably one of Steve Carell’s best movies. Among the notable scenes, one includes a chest waxing scene where Carell’s character is seen shouting random expletives each time a strip of hair is removed from his chest. The scene was completed unscripted except for a few lines that were written on a cue card as suggestions while he was enduring what was certainly a lot of pain. Let’s discuss one such line from this iconic movie.
Setting up the shot
In the movie, this scene is the result of Andy (Carell) taking advice from his co-worker Jay (Romany Malco) who suggests that he get his chest waxed to improve his chances of getting a date.
Jay claims that he has “a whole Teen Wolf thing” going on there. At the behest of some misguided co-workers, Andy agrees to have his chest waxed. In reality, Carell agreed to have his chest actually waxed for the scene to get real reactions to the pain he had to endure.
In an article from Screenrant, the actor that played the person doing the waxing, Miki Mia, admitted she had previous experience with waxing but didn’t really know what she was doing. One thing that she neglected to do was to put Vaseline on the nipple before applying the wax. Luckily, one of the cast knew this and corrected it before Carell lost a nipple in the process.
Although the scene was not scripted, a cue card was created with several different phrases that Carell was to shout during his procedure. This cue card will serve as the basis for one of the most iconic comedy scenes in film history.
The infamous cue card
Seth Rogen was the writer that created the list of expletives for Carell to choose from as he was being waxed. His handwritten cue card included phrases such as “cowboy underpants” and “burger panties.” However, the one phrase that stuck out the most is Kelly Clarkson because it was so unlike all the other phrases on the card.
Rogen later admitted on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” that the only reason he chose her name was that she happened to be on TV when he was coming up with things to write down. He also noted that the sound k has been used often in the comedy world because it is associated with comedy. He was instructed by Judd Apatow to have some clean and some not-so-clean phrases on the card, and Clarkson was meant to be one of the clean phrases.
The aftermath of the infamous quote
Being the good sport she is, Clarkson was not offended by the extra attention she has garnered from being in the iconic scene. In fact, she seems to embrace the idea saying, “I love that I made it between ‘burger-panties’ and ‘throbbing monkey-tail.'” Clarkson’s name is now forever marked in pop culture thanks to this movie. Clarkson notes that she hears this line from people more often than in her own work. Despite being at first confused about the reason for the line, after speaking with Seth Rogen she now embraces the idea and is happy with her association with the iconic scene.
Although the scene was totally unscripted, Steve Carell struck comedy gold with his iconic Clarkson line. One of the reasons the line is so funny is because of its randomness in the scene. Why would Andy be thinking of Kelly Clarkson in the midst of his first painful chest waxing? Only Andy knows the answer to that, and that’s what makes the scene so memorable and hilarious.