Sex? Yes Please: Collaborators Jonas Chernick and Sean Garrity Put The Sex In Sex Comedy With My Awkward Sexual Adventure

By Kenton Smith
Uptown Magazine — December 1, 2011

Once they realized what kind of movie they were really making, it was only natural for collaborators Sean Garrity and Jonas Chernick to add a cunnilingus scene involving a cantaloupe.

That scene went in the can the day before I sat down with Chernick and Garrity on the set of My Awkward Sexual Adventure, now filming in locations around Winnipeg. Itís to be the fourth collaboration between star/producer/writer and former Winnipegger Chernick and Winnipeg-based director Garrity, after features Inertia (2001), Lucid (2005) and Blood Pressure, presently in post-production.

"Given the somewhat darker nature of our previous films, we thought a sex comedy would be a nice change of pace," says a smiling Garrity, who won the award for best Canadian first feature at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival for Inertia.

Their latest project may also prove a standout where Canadian cinema at large is concerned.

"Raunchy sex comedy is not really done in Canada," Chernick explains, 2007ís Young People Fucking and the many titles in the annals of Canuxploitation film notwithstanding. Itís a claim the Gemini Award-winning actor makes as a self-professed "Canadian film cinephile"; heíd have to go all the way back to the still-famous shower scene in the original Porkyís (1981) to find the bar set at a comparable height.

"I definitely saw a niche to be filled," Chernick says. "Thereís never been a highly suggestive cunnilingus-instruction scene in a Canadian sex comedy before."

"Well, not even suggestive," Garrity dryly corrects.

All this certainly wasnít in Chernickís mind from day one of writing the script, which he laboured over for seven years. "I originally started writing it after a bad breakup. It began as more of a cultural comedy, about a Jewish guy who falls for a Christian woman."

It was Garrity, whoíd provided notes on the script for years, who first said: "This is a sex comedy." And after Chernick asked his frequent partner in creative crime to direct, "it became Seanís vision, which Iím now supporting as producer." (Partnering with Chernick in that capacity is Winnipeg-based producer Juliette Hagopian.)

"I always wanted to do a straight-up comedy," Garrity says, adding that heís been finding his job simplified in certain respects this time around. "As a director, youíre watching the film as itís being made to see if itís working.

"In comedy, itís possible to get a clearer answer for any given take. You ask yourself, ĎIs this funny?í"

The crew apparently thinks so: according to Chernick and Garrity, one of the camera crew "lost it" while filming the cantaloupe bit. "Itís a very good test, whether the crew can contain themselves," Garrity says.

Theyíve even managed to retain some "Jew-y sex jokes" to retain some semblance of his original vision, Chernick says. That said, he was still "sad to see a lot of that Jewish stuff go," including the fantastic original title: Kosher Sexy.

But then, of course, it wouldnít have been the same (sex) comedy.

My Awkward Sexual Adventure is set to be released in 2012.

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