Lauren Perlman, Richard Stern
Orlin Wagner  /  AP
Before YouTube, Richard Stern (right), shown with his girlfriend, Lauren Perlman, was a prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office in Florida. Now, he's Lazydork, an Internet jester in a bathrobe
updated 9/29/2006 8:04:47 PM ET 2006-09-30T00:04:47

Richard Stern has been living a double life: prosecutor by day, YouTube star by night.

For three years, the 28-year-old Stern worked as a prosecutor for the Miami-Dade State Attorney in Florida. But unbeknownst to his colleagues, Stern was known to thousands by his online alias, Lazydork.

Usually wearing his trademark blue bathrobe, Lazydork raps, reviews movies and guards the noncommercial sanctity of YouTube in his homemade video clips. A good measure of his popularity has come as a rival to lonelygirl15, the YouTube sensation recently revealed as a fictionalized production starring actress Jessica Rose.

In his most popular video (more than 621,000 views) Stern rapped to lonelygirl15 that "Lazydork is better than you," and claimed he was "going to buy and sell you like Google stock."

Other videos have included Lazydork pouring milk over himself in slow motion while Edith Piaf is played as the soundtrack, and an announcement that he was running for "President of YouTube," intoning: "Don't forget, this IS a popularity contest."

YouTube is a free service that allows users to share and view videos, most of which are amateurishly produced and include clips of young people singing and dancing — usually badly.

Stern makes the Lazydork videos with his 23-year-old girlfriend, Lauren Perlman, who does the filming and co-writes much of the material. The couple first started making videos on their Web site, which features video movie reviews and invented drinking games for 844 films (for "Top Gun," drink every time Maverick breaks the rules).

Lazydork remained a secret to Stern's co-workers right until when he recently quit. Shortly thereafter, his identity was revealed in a story in The Miami Herald. When the story ran earlier this week, Stern said, the news hit his old office "like a bomb."

"I can guarantee you a lot of defense attorneys were stunned because I always took a very hard approach," Stern tells The Associated Press. "They saw a side of me that they'd never seen in court."

Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Attorney's Office, told the AP Friday: "I'm not sure we're real crazy about guys in a bathrobes. ... As I earlier said to someone, `The Internet makes everyone crazy.'"

Stern is currently driving with Perlman to Las Vegas where they will settle and he plans to pursue his long-held dream to become a professional poker player.

He figures his videos have been popular because he plays to the YouTube community. And in the world of viral video, Stern's clips have drawn endless parodies and responses of their own.

Watching that interaction has become an obsession for Stern.

"It's like a heroin injection, waiting to see how many views I get," he joked. "When (YouTube) features me, it's like Nirvana."

Though the videos (which often feature basic effects and graphics) take about four hours to produce, Stern remains committed to frequently producing them and anticipates his poker-playing aspirations will make good fodder.

Earlier this week, viral video stars Luke Barats and Joe Bereta inked a one-year production deal with NBC Universal — a possibility Stern had not ever fathomed.

"But if somebody's buying, I'm definitely selling," he said. "My stuff is ten times better than any of their stuff."

YouTube, a San Mateo, California-based startup, has become one of the Internet's hottest properties since two 20-something friends started the company 19 months ago.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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