Five Minutes with Comedian Graydon Sheppard
If you still haven’t seen the original Shit Girls Say video—the viral send-up of a certain brand of girlish idiocy—then you’ve surely seen one of the hundreds of imitations that have clogged the Internet recently, some as hilarious as the original but most unfunny flops. Thank Canadian-born Graydon Sheppard and his boyfriend Kyle Humphrey for the meme, which has burrowed its way into the pop cultural psyche. Here, Sheppard talks about performing in drag, his prolific Twitter feed, and holding hands with Ryan Gosling.
Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard
You and Kyle started the @shitgirlssay Twitter feed back in April, eight months before the first video was posted. Tell me about the transition from Twitter to YouTube.
We had started to get more followers over the summer, and because my background is in film—I’m a filmmaker and director—I wanted to do something that complimented the feed as a fun project.
Do you prefer being behind or in front of the camera?
Oh god, I’ve always wanted be in front of the camera, I just didn’t know it was okay! I had done drag and performed before, and I always kind of loved to be the center of attention.
How did you create The Girl?
I think our goal was the same with the twitter feed: to embody a woman rather than impersonate one. She’s kind of a noncharacter, very general and specific at the same time. It’s a character but we didn’t want to overdo and make it feel mocking.
Your favorite one-liner?
My favorite is “That poor dog needs water.” Kyle’s is the one that started it all: “Can you pass me that blanket?”
@shitgirlssay retweets Kim Kardashian and Heidi Montag. Is ‘she’ that kind of girl?
We haven’t done that as much lately, but it’s definitely a demographic that we’re interested in. We tend to focus on girls in their twenties—our friends and people we know. It’s definitely not shit all girls say, but it strikes a chord with our generation.
Are certain people direct inspirations?
A lot of inspiration comes from people like Kyle’s sister, who sends us tweets all the time.
What’s something funny that Kyle’s sister has said?
A really good one was, “Ice cream makes me cough.”
Juliette Lewis was your first celebrity collaboration. Are there any others in the works?
I’ve jokingly said we want Ryan Gosling in a video, just so I could hold his hand.
What’s been the most exciting moment for you and Kyle since the video?
We were on Rock Center with Brian Williams. His producer called one day out of the blue and said, ‘We just came from a pitch meeting and the first thing that Brian pitched was doing a piece on Shit Girls Say.’ His wife and daughter watch it, and his daughter is a performer as well so she brought it to his attention, I think. Also, 30 Rock did Shit Liz Lemon Says, so that’s up there too.
Video: Shit Girls Say
What do you think about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? How do all the imitations sit with you?
It’s not overwhelming anymore. At first when they started happening, we were like, Oh my God, this is so crazy! And then they just kept flooding in—more and more and more—and it just became this thing that is now out in the ether.