The untold truth of Dr. DisRespect

He's the only doctor in the world who's a hazard to your health — and no one's got more confirmed kills than he does. His name is Dr. DisRespect, and if you didn't know it yet, you'd better get familiar. 

The most ruthless villain in the gaming community, the Doc is a popular Twitch streamer known for his elite skills with a keyboard and mouse. He's a stone-cold shooter who's gained followers and won awards on his way to becoming one of the most popular streamers of all time. Rocking a mullet, sunglasses, and a bulletproof vest, the Doc is the height of arrogance, a top-tier gamer, and to legions of fans, an example to live up to — which you can either find inspirational or terrifying.

While the two-time Blockbuster video game champion ('93 and '94) has always been a solid gamer, the Doctor faced a long journey on his way to becoming the self-described face of Twitch, and years of work went into making his overnight success a reality. But who is Dr. DisRespect really? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the man behind the most ruthless mustache in all of gaming.

A villain is born

While Dr. DisRespect didn't start becoming a sensation until late in 2016, his first appearance dates back to 2010 — and his roots go back even further. The character is the creation of Guy Beahm, who first came up with the name while playing Halo 2.

"I didn't have an idea for how he would look, or even making YouTube videos," Beahm said in a 2011 documentary, filmed when he was notable but before he was truly famous. According to Beahm, the name of the character came from his Xbox Live gamertag, which was previously the slightly-less catchy Diarrhea Panic. While he didn't know it at the time, it was a fateful decision.

The idea of making the gamertag a character didn't exist immediately. "There weren't really any expectations of making a Doctor character come alive," Beahm said. Instead, his first goal was to simply start recording his own gameplay, inspired by the recognition other gamers were receiving for recording commentary over their gaming sessions. He began to produce his own spin on it, and the Doctor made his first steps into reality.

"[I] recorded a whole bunch of crappy clips, put them together in this montage form, and recorded my voice over them," Beahm said. "[I used] one of the voices I generally just have fun with and use on Xbox Live, and created this sort of unique video — this intense, unique, villain type of character."

Visualizing the Doctor

The next step in creating the Doctor was bringing the man to face to face with the real world. With his voice already in his arsenal, Beahm set out to give the character the turn in the spotlight he deserved, which meant schlepping out to find a costume.

"I went to the costume store, [and] did not really have any intentions or expectations of getting something specific," Beahm said. "I just knew that there had to be a look to him. And he had to have a mustache." He found the mustache, mullet and sunglasses in one trip, and began putting the basic personality of the character together with his friends later that night.

Of course, the character would evolve from these humble beginnings. That mustache? It would soon become a poisonous Ethiopian caterpillar by the name of Slick Daddy which once fell on the Doctor's face and never left. That's just one example of the kind of character that Doc would become. As fans know well by now, the Doctor would ultimately end up as a paragon of hypermasculine confidence, backing up his boasts by claiming to be a 6'8" athlete with a 37-inch vertical leap — two claims which happen to actually be true. Not only can Beahm really do a 360-degree dunk, he doesn't need to inject steroids into his legs like the Doctor does in order to make it happen.

Contract to kill

After establishing the persona, Beahm slowly started making a name for himself in the burgeoning online streaming scene, setting up his own channel on YouTube in 2010. He produced early videos for the Call of Duty and Halo series while networking with other prominent streamers to score guest commentary spots. Eventually, he started to attract attention on what was then among the more prominent gaming websites, G4TV.com.  

According to Beahm himself, the Doc took on a much more serious and dark tone in these early years, growling grimly like Batman and taking gaming dead seriously. True to his name, he was not met with much respect on his arrival; he had to fight for that, earning the admiration of his enemies one headshot at a time.

The consistent content production on Beahm's end led in 2011 to a contract with Machinima, giving him a much bigger platform to distribute his videos. And while many viewers were still confused or turned off by the Doc's gimmick, Beahm found many fans among the employees of Machinima, which led to further opportunities with the company. This first success was but a sign of bigger things to come.

The call of duty

In 2011, Beahm's extensive experience with cleaning up in multiplayer deathmatches led to a professional opportunity as a community manager for a Call of Duty developer, Sledgehammer Games. 

"When I first heard about the Sledgehammer Games position, at that time I was temporarily working at Stanford University, and I didn't really know where I wanted to go," Beahm said. "I just know I've always wanted to get into the video game industry."

Based on his experiences growing his social media profile, Beahm decided to try applying for the position, and got the job in March 2011. A year later, despite his initial nervousness about lacking experience, he was promoted from community management to level design. You know how the Doctor claims to have designed half of the multiplayer maps in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Chalk it up to another one of his boasts that's actually true.

To keep his focus on his work in game design, Beahm retired Dr. DisRespect for almost five years, only returning to YouTube after leaving Sledgehammer behind. Faced with the choice of continuing to pursue game design with another studio or returning to the character that put him on the map, Beahm chose the Doc, working out a consulting deal with the streaming platform Boom.tv.

"They funded my studio, rent and broke down the revenue made from streaming," Beahm said. "It came down to my wife, and she said to try to stream and see where it went."

Rise to prominence

Beahm spent his early years as a streamer learning the ropes and laying a foundation, but it wasn't until his return that his fame started to skyrocket. He came back in a big way in 2016, gaining fans by streaming the battle-royale style game H1Z1: King of the Kill and, later, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. Finally, the Doctor was reaching his true potential.

The combination of the unique, fun-to-watch battle royale games with a charismatic, over-the-top, fun-to-watch character made for a classic case of "right place, right time," and the Doc surged forth into an ascendant 2017, becoming one of the top PUBG streamers by playing obsessively and aggressively over the course of the year.

During this time, the Doc truly went into business for himself, kicking off his own merch line, streaming at live events to packed crowds, and winning the Trending Gamer award from the Game Awards. It's hard to imagine things would've gone as well for him if he'd stayed in game development instead of getting back in the arena where he belongs. 

"Thank God I'm not in the industry anymore," he proclaimed during a 2017 stream. "I am the industry."

I challenge you to a duel

No one takes more abuse from the Doc than his offscreen staffers, the faceless employees in charge of his studio who may or may not exist. But he's also directed his ire at a number of real-world targets, living up to his name and sparking feuds and controversy. Over the course of his streaming career, he's roasted and feuded with the likes of Tyler1 and Summit1g — but just like with wrestling, there's a certain amount of kayfabe-esque fakery to the interactions. Other encounters haven't gone so smoothly.

In July 2017, the Doc was shockingly banned from PUBG after shooting a teammate in the head, violating the game's rules against team kills. The developer of the game, Playerunknown, went so far as to directly address the Doc on Twitter, writing "If you break the rules in @PUBATTLEGROUNDS… no matter who you are… you're gonna have a bad time!"

This was not a fight the Doc could walk away from, threatening a variety of kicks against the developer which weren't taken as a joke. The Doc then made a new account on the game to continue playing, taunting the dev with stream names like "Jump Kicks" and "#triggeredDevs."

On a less personal level, he also disrespected the entire institution of Nintendo, decrying the studio's games as beneath him. "Listen," the Doc said. "I deal with high-level, first-person shooter, high-skill, open-world, interactive, apocalyptic arenas where you gotta be the last guy alive."

Disaster

The Doc revealed few details about his real self over the course of his streams, rarely appearing out of character and only making faint allusions to his real life on video. Despite this, it was known to his fanbase that the Doc was a husband and a father, with his wife referenced under the monikers Mrs. Assassin or Nurse DisRespect.

In December 2017, Beahm finished off his high-flying year at a crushing low point, unexpectedly appearing in a livestream out of character, barely able to look into the lens. Tearfully, he revealed that he had been unfaithful to his wife, and would be taking time off from his streaming career to focus on his family and try to mend the damage done.

"Stupid f***ing mistakes, man," he said. "I'm going to take time off to focus on my family, and I just wanted to let you guys know that." He extended an apology to his sponsors, Twitch, and his followers — and for a time, the fate of the Doc's channel seemed entirely in the air. The reveal itself, a disarming IRL video from a streamer not known for it, went viral on its own merits, and speculation about the Doc's future spread widely across the streaming community.

A moderator who worked with the Doctor later alleged in his own stream that Beahm had undertaken affairs with at least four women, saying he had been keeping quiet about it, at that point, for two years.

Return to glory

While the revelation of real-life infidelity cast a pall of uncertainty over the future of the channel, the Doctor didn't spend his time away from streaming crying into his king-size waterbed. Instead, he regrouped off-camera, reconciled with his family, and got himself back up and running in about a month and a half. 

True to form, the Doc announced his return with a video that alluded to the real-life situation in the most over-the-top way possible — held at knifepoint by his wife.

"I messed up. I messed up big time," he said in the announcement video. "I didn't think I was gonna make it out alive — but I did. We all did. The Doc is coming back."

On Dr. DisRespect's eventual return on February 5, he was met with a rapturous response by the viewing audience, breaking the record for most concurrent viewers of a single Twitch stream with, according to the platform, "over 388,000" people streaming his return. He also claims to have broken Twitch in the process of returning, with the whole site coincidentally going down for ten minutes upon his arrival.

His subscriber base, rebranded from the Slick Daddy Club to the Champion's Club, grew by more than 12,000 new subscribers on his first day back, with viewers rewarding him with thousands of dollars in donations over the course of the day's stream. Turns out that the demise-and-rise narrative has an appeal to audiences no matter what you do. 

The personal aftermath

The Doc's return went supremely well, and he returned to a weekly full-time streaming schedule while evidently rearranging some aspects of his life, calling his reconciliation with his wife a "learning process" and a "rebuilding process." As a part of his penance and growth, he apparently gave up alcohol. "I'm not preaching everyone should do it," he said. "I'm just — I'm doing it. Whether you like it or not? I'm doing it. And the effects? Magnificent."

Though the Doc's cheating admission undeniably raised his profile through the sheer power of gossip and scandal, he's not keeping the new influx of cash solely to himself. Shortly after returning, he announced that, together with his wife, he would be donating a portion of his Twitch proceeds to charity in a new monthly initiative spearheaded by Mrs. Assassin. 

The Doctor's wife has also stepped out a little from behind the scenes since the gamer's fall from grace, providing glimpses of the Doctor's return on her own Instagram page. Also, amusingly, the Doc returned to streaming sans human mods for his chatroom, replacing his moderator staff with bots. They may not be as good at reading chat as people, but they're not as prone to gossip, either.

The Champions Club

The brief fall and rise of Dr. DisRespect says a lot about the communities that form around people who stream their lives for a living. The viewers grow an attachment to the streamer, but the streamer comes to rely on their audience, too.

Over the course of his ascendant last two years, the Doc has made his community know how much he appreciates them, which might come as a surprise considering his abrasive, aggressive persona. Sometimes it's as simple as scrolling through Twitter, appreciating Doc-themed Halloween costumes fans have put together. Other times his appreciation for the fans is more direct, like the time the Doc talked one fan through a period of suicidal thinking, speaking to the viewer directly on the stream and showing compassion without ever dropping character.

Another time, a simple candid compliment from a fan who said how much he loved the Doc (without realizing he was in a game with him) reduced him to tears. No matter how much he talks about violence, speed, and momentum, there's a real human heart beating inside the chest of this elite gamer.