They say even bad press is good press.

They say negative hype brings positive attention.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Well. Whoever “they” happen to be, it’s obvious they’ve never experienced the gratuitous shock value of Steve Carell’s gruesome chest waxing scene in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

Nor have they had to talk down an otherwise emotionally sound man from the edge of hysteria that this now-legendary mental image causes.

As it’s told, Carell is a stickler for authenticity, so in order for audiences to absorb the level of sheer terror his character was about to endure, he did it in just one take.

The whole scene was improvised, and the esthetician was an actress who lied in her audition by saying she knew how to wax people. The man nearly lost a nipple as a result. Actor Paul Rudd dubbed her their waxtress.

And, not surprisingly, there was zero element of accuracy or realism for how body waxing is actually done.

I get it, though, because I simultaneously laughed and cringed along with the rest of the audience. He did, indeed, hit the mark for which he was aiming: to permanently scar his viewers.

However, it has also left an unshakable residue in its wake that has you gentlemen really and truly terrorized to even wax your big toe, much less enjoy the many benefits of body waxing. So, realize that scene for the Hollywood hogwash it is.