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Comedians behind "Girls Say" meme sign with Harlequin

Graydon Sheppard in the viral video "Shit Girls Say"

Could it be a coincidence that the two bearded Toronto comedians who created the Internet hit Shit Girls Say just signed their first book deal with Harlequin Enterprises, the publisher known best for its indefatigable output of cheesy romance novels?

Not from Harlequin's point of view. From the moment she saw the duo's first video, acquiring editor Deborah Brody said, she knew they belonged in the Harlequin stable. "We aggressively pursued them and are thrilled to have prevailed in the auction," Brody said.

Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard's three videos and daily tweets offer no lessons in the empowerment of women. On the contrary, they are unremittingly sarcastic. But women are their biggest fans, Brody said.

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"Women love this," she said, adding that "the vast majority of their fans are women." The fact that Humphrey and Sheppard are a couple who were both raised by single mothers helps, Brody said, making their remarks knowing but sympathetic.

And massively popular by any measure. Shit Girls Say has attracted more than 28 million YouTube views, 1.3 million Twitter followers and 11 million Google hits, according to Harlequin. Helped by a clean-shaven and cross-dressing Sheppard's performance as the girl who says the sh*t, the comedians "have struck a chord with a massive number of people," Harlequin publisher Donna Hayes said.

Even so, she added, "there is a whole other demographic out there who have yet to discover them and will do so for the first time in print."

How does one make a book from three short videos and a series of tweets that are brisk even for that notoriously short format? The answer, according to Harlequin, will be "full-colour images that capture the hilarious essence of everyday phrases used by women."

The book is scheduled to be released in the fall.

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