Edgy new web series Coming In tackles gay sexual identity with comedy

Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey, the two creators of Shit Girls Say -- a huge viral hit on Twitter and YouTube -- are launching their new web series: Coming In. It's about a gay man who comes out as straight.

Creators of viral hit Shit Girls Say return with new series about gay man who comes out as straight

Dylan Archambault stars as Mitchell, a gay man who wakes up straight one day and has to contend with coming out as heterosexual, in the new digital comedy series Coming In. (CBC)
The Canadian creators of the viral series Shit Girls Say are hoping their new online series will be another big hit. This time, they tackle the topic of sexual identity with a web series called Coming In.

It's about a gay man (Dylan Archambault) who wakes up on the day of his wedding and realizes he's straight. 

"It's kind of a controversial subject and could be seen as pushing the wrong buttons," Graydon Sheppard told CBC News. 

"But like Shit Girls Say, we're handling it in a similar way with compassion and understanding, and also just comedy."

Sheppard, and his partner in life and art Kyle Humphrey, made a Twitter account @shitgirlssay in 2011, poking fun at female conversation. It was an instant hit, racking up close to two million followers. 

They launched a web series the following year with the same name and concept, featuring Sheppard dressed as a woman, parodying typical female problems and phrases. The first video, costarring actor Juliette Lewis, was viewed more than 20 million times.

Finding humour in coming out

From that initial experience, Sheppard and Humphrey -- who now live in Los Angeles -- learned to trust their own vision when coming up with Coming In.

The first episode sees the main character attend a support group for gay men who are now heterosexual, although he's actually hoping to find a way to become gay again.

The humour plays off the uncomfortable fact that there are still religious groups and so-called "ex-gay" organizations that try to reprogram gay men to be straight.

Graydon Sheppard (left) and Kyle Humphrey won a huge following with Shit Girls Say and they've created a new web series because "it's a really interesting way to do new things on a smaller scale." (CBC)
But the creators of Coming In say they hope the approach won't make some in the LGBT community uncomfortable.

"I think we understand that it's not easy for people to come out still," said Sheppard. "We don't want to say that people shouldn't be gay and I think that becomes clear in the series that we are definitely pro coming out and being able to be gay and being able to be yourself."

"We just anticipate there might be some response, but the material indicates where we actually really stand."

The creators of Coming In, starring Dylan Archambault, say that with "online content you get to be a little bit more free." (CBC)
He adds that when they were pitching the series, "people understood that because we're gay, we're a couple and because of what we did with Shit Girls Say, people understood that it was just a funny concept that people would understand right away and that hadn't been done before."

The initial release of Coming In has 11 episodes, each running between three and five minutes. 

While Sheppard admits "you get to take more risks online" they are hopeful that Coming In could become a half-hour comedy series on TV, if it's a big enough hit online. 

Coming In can be streamed on http://www.cbc.ca/comedy starting November 21.