Stefan Karl may not be a name that is as common place in the brain as Johnny Depp or Leonardo Dicaprio, but he has been common place in the hearts of many lately.
Stefan Karl was born on July 10, 1975 in Hafnarfjordur in Iceland. Shortly after graduation from drama school from The Icelandic Academy of Arts in Reykjavík, he signed up with the National Theatre of Iceland. Here, Stefan was in; The Jungle Book, little shop of horrors and A Midsummer Night's dream, among a few other plays before getting the role many of us would know him for.
As a lead comedic actor with the National Theatre, he was invited to play the part of Robbie Rotten in the second theatre production of "Lazy Town" in 1999 to 2000 which was called Robbie Rotten in Lazy Town. In this play, the Character of Robbie Rotten is a much more dark character. Robbie, in this play, is a criminal known for his horrible crimes, lying skills and mastery of disguise. Using his abilities of disguise, Robbie is able to convince the citizens of Lazy Town that he is a charming wealthy and powerful man named Richy Rich who is also close friends with the president. It also helps that he stole the president's car to use as a way to convince the town of his lies. After a night at the nicest hotel in town, Robbie tries to convince children in Lazy Town that the veggies they grow are gross and attempts to get Ziggy re-addicted to candy. Ziggy was able to limit his candy consumption to once a week after elf hero Sportacus worked so hard to get the children healthy in the first play. Robbie as Richy then tries to get the children to not tie their shoes because it is fashionable, as is slouching and bad posture. Robbie, after stealing some money from Stingy, also tells the children that studying is not important. As long as you know the basics of math, then you know enough. To convince the citizens further that change their eating habits and to make a profit, he tries to sell them canned veggies as a quick and easy way to get food. When that fails to work, he has the Mayhem Town Gang steal the veggies and later on sprays poison in the garden to make the citizens sick if they chose eat veggies instead of eating his canned food and robs the grocery store. In the process of his scheme, Trixie and Stephanie are put in prison where they decide to be best friends, Richy Rich becomes the new mayor, and Ziggy, Pixel, Stingy, and Jives get a job at the can food factory. The girls are able to free themselves. With the help of Sportacus and officer obtuse, Robbie is finally caught.
After six more plays, three tv parts and five movie roles, Stefan was Robbie Rotten once again when Magnus Scheving's Lazy Town moved from stage plays to the world of TV. "Lazy Town" was shown in over 180 countries and was available in over 30 languages. 53 episodes were made between 2004 to 2007 for seasons one and two of the show. This series focuses on eight-year-old Stephanie who moves to Lazy Town to live with her uncle who also happens to be the mayor of the town. She soon finds out that the other kids are inactive. With the help of "above average hero" Sportacus, she gets the other kids to be more active, play games and play sports. Robbie Rotten, however, likes the lazyness of Lazy Town because he can eat unhealthy food like big pieces of cake, sleep in as late as he wants and its a lot quieter in town with out the kids playing outside. In an attempt to bring back the town's lazy ways, each episode Robbie plans out and puts forth a new plan to stop everyone from being so energetic. These plans normally have Robbie in disguise for he is a master of disguise. However, because of Robbie's continuous moving around to scheme, get plans ready and going forth with said plans, he ironically is also being active as well without noticing it.
The week that "Lazy Town" debuted on Nickelodeon in the United States was the channel's highest rated premiere in three whole years. This great children's educational show was educational in a way that most kids shows weren't. Instead of learning letters, spelling, numbers and basic math, The show focused other the importance of staying active, getting along with others and eating healthier food. These are skills that anyone, child or adult can use no matter what their age and will stay relevant for your whole life which is one of the many great things about this show. Staying active and healthy is important for your whole life. This series has also won a few awards. In 2004, Lazy town won the Nordic public Health prize. In 2005, "Lazy Town" won Best Art Direction for their puppet designs. And in 2006, "Lazy Town" was awarded Best International Children's Program!
After two seasons of "Lazy Town", Stefan Karl did voice over for the movies; Anna And The Moods, Night At The Museum, and Thor. He was also lead actor in an Icelandic comedy movie called Polite people. In 2008, 2009 and 2010-2014 Stefan Karl was in the Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical.
But "Lazy Town" was not done. Far From it. From 2013 to 2014, it came back for two more seasons on TV with Stefan Karl returning as Robbie Rotten. Since then, "Cooking By The Book", You Are A Pirate" and more recently "We are number one" have all become memes. These three catchy songs all come from the show. While the first two are great, it is "We are number one" that is the main focus. On September 13th, 2016, the song was picked up by Youtuber SiIvagunner, starting with his uploads “We are Number One – LazyTown: The Video Game” and “We are Number One (Beta Mix)- LazyTown: The Video Game” Which has over 900,000 views and over 130,000 views.
In October 2016 it was revealed that Stefan Karl has Pancreatic cancer and had surgery. He will likely need a year to recover so a Gofundme page was set up to help Stefan and his family raise the needed funds to help take care of the bills and to survive that year.
By early November 2016, Word replacement remixes of "We are number one" have risen to popularity. Some people prefer to change up the order of the words or change the lyrics a little to make the song sound like its from a different time. Others prefer to swap Robbie out for a different character or person. A few people even make complete new remixes of the song by adding other music tracks or sound clips. The possibilities are pretty endless. Many memes and remixes have been made and many people can't seem to get enough of Lazy Town.
These meme creators also commonly include a link to Stefan's Gofundme page. Between people's love for Stefan Karl, people's love of "Lazy Town", and people's love of a good meme, the go fund me has raised quite a lot of money to help Stefan and his family. While a lot of memes are just for jokes and entertainment, this is a meme that helps give back and thankfully continues to do so to this day.
On December 11, 2016, as a thank you for fifty thousand dollars being raised, Stefan Karl had a Live Facebook video event. In the video, Lazy Town's music composer, Mani Svavars talked about the making of songs for "Lazy Town" and showed an alternate version of the song "We are number one" that includes extra lyrics that did not get approved. After that, Stefan had a reunion with the other Rottens; Biorn, Bergur, and Snorri, from the episode that "we are number one" comes from. They talked about the episode and then did a live performance of the song. Today (Jan 13th 2017), the Gofundme page has over 115,000 dollars and funds continue to be added every few hours.
After the event was over, he posted the video from the Facebook event on to Youtube. I subscribed to him that day because I genuinely enjoy "Lazy Town", I enjoy memes and I've come to like Stefan as a person. I said to myself, his channel is going to skyrocket in subscribers. I was subscriber number 58. He has 141,582 subscribers as I write this article. Every now and then, Stefan Posts a new video. Hes very positive despite what he is going through. He loves the memes and how creative everyone is. He even refers to these people as his "Meme friends".
Last month, an online petition was made on Change,org to get Stefan Karl to represent Iceland at the Eurovision song contest for 2017. There have been over eleven thousand people who have signed this. But due to his cancer treatment, Stefan is has declined the offer. He doesn't expect to be better until next summer and doesn't trust himself to take on the challenge. Recovery always comes first.This article may be done but the journey isn't over. you have many people out here who care about you Stefan Karl Stefansson. May your health continue to get better. You are number one.