eSports
Darin Kwilinski, ESPN esports 8d

The Doc will see you now -- meet the mind behind Dr DisRespect

esports

Backstage at the All-Star H1Z1 Invitational at TwitchCon 2017 in Long Beach, California, sits a larger-than-life figure in an oversized beanbag.

"You want to do this as the Doc or a straight interview?" he asks.

Couches and lounge chairs decorate the tan-colored room, but the character named Dr DisRespect chooses a more laid back, less intense option; a far cry from what the Doc might pick if he was in character.

Guy Beahm, or Dr DisRespect as many know him, has quickly become a gaming phenomenon on Twitch.tv (or as the Doc says, Twitch Doc TV). If you've never seen him before, he's best described as a WWE character in the competitive gaming world. He sports a shoulder-length, black haired wig, reflective, aggressive-looking sunglasses, a tactical vest and an oversized mustache. Loaded with catchphrases, Beahm is adept at cutting off-the-cuff promos in front of dozens of digital trophies (or, most of the time, just at his desk), and is really good at battle royale-style games like H1Z1 and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or first-person shooters like Call of Duty: WWII.

And yes, he really is 6-foot-8, he really has a 38-inch vertical, and can do 360-degree dunks. He really is the two-time, back-to-back video game champion (the game was NBA Jam at Marine World, and Beahm has shown a proficiency in NBA knowledge and fandom on-stream). Other catchphrases are a little more outlandish and comical, but fit the mold: "I'm on top of the mountain, and I'm only halfway up!" the Doc will proclaim occasionally. "Violence. Speed. Momentum." is another mainstay.

When you become part of his following, you're joining the Slick Daddy Club. It's over the top, but it never infringes on ostentatious. It's a kind of theater.

"I created a character who plays multiplayer video games, and he's considered the most dominating gaming specimen," Beahm says.

Beahm's character, which you could consider a hyper-caricature of how the stereotypical male gamer views himself, has quickly risen to prominence. But Dr DisRespect has been around for a lot longer you may expect.

It all started with the voice and a strange gamertag.

"I decided to change my gamertag from 'Diarrhea Panic.' The Doctor character originated from playing Halo 2 on the XBox," Beahm says, "and it had proximity chat where you could engage with someone in real-time on the microphone, and I loved that; I ate that up."

A quick name change later -- Dr DisRespect was the second thing that came to mind -- and Beahm and his roommates got to work on posting content to YouTube. There were cameramen, music and a "cyber-genetic gamer that wouldn't say anything with an orange mullet and red headband" that looked like Chuck Norris.

There was a very serious, dark tone to the Doc back then, Beahm recalls, and ultimately he retired the character for around five years. He was working with Sledgehammer on Call of Duty maps, but when he left, it was "just three or four months of wondering what was going on because I was a niche designer, and I was segmented."

On the verge of moving his family to Washington to work on World of Tanks, Beahm met with an investor with Boom.TV and worked out a deal for Beahm to be a consultant. Now, the company also takes highlights from Dr DisRespect streams in real-time if the audience watching builds up enough hype by sending a specific emoji via chat.

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

The last year and a half has been all upward trajectory, and Dr DisRespect consistently pulls in 25,000 to 30,000 viewers, if not more. He's on Monday through Friday, six to eight hours a day, maintaining character and ranting about a bug in PUBG or celebrating a 360 jumping shot to end a match.

And he's gained the attention of other high profile streamers, too.

As Beahm talks about his career, Jaryd "Summit1g" Lazar sits across the room, waiting to be interviewed. The two streamers have formed an online rivalry in PUBG, but offline, they are friendly.

"I've been watching his stream for years. He brings humor and high-level gameplay," Beahm says. "I always had him on the third monitor when I worked at Sledgehammer, and he's always a fun watch. He's someone I looked up to for how he handled his audience and himself; I've always enjoyed how he read his donations because he reads every single one. He's an inspiration."

"He has to keep up this high-level persona all the time, and not too long ago, we were in a two-vs-two situation in a game," Lazar adds. "When I see the Doc in my game, I'm sweating and nervous and he has to stay on-point, cool and collective to his channel when he plays in game. I respect that and I've always had a good time with it."

The rivalries are important, Beahm says, because "these high-level collaborations are unique and provide a story."

But offline, they're able to joke with one another. While answering a question about where the Call of Duty series is at, Beahm ends his answer with "How streamable is it on Twitch?"

"Not much!" Lazar cries from the other side of the room.

Outside of streaming with pro players and making appearances to compete, Beahm doesn't have much interest in putting Dr DisRespect into esports at the moment. At TwitchCon, he was arguably one of the biggest draws to the All-Star H1Z1 Invitational and helped fill out the middle of an arena that featured 75 computers and some of the best H1Z1 players in the world. It was loud, entertaining and the crowd was into the event. Dr DisRespect placed 24th, third, and 67th in the three matches.

Results aren't all that important to Beahm in events like these, though. Instead of esports, it's all about the sustainability of the character.

"I think about it all the time, about how to extend the shelf life, and you have to think outside of the box," he says. "A lot of it is determined with what games come out, and you play off the entertainment ideas that will organically surface. I don't know if I want to do Twitch forever because I'm not in my 20s, but we'll see."

At the end of the interview, Beahm graciously agrees to cut a cut promo in-character. Like turning on a light switch, Beahm is gone, and the Doc is in.

"I did decent," Doc declares. "Until I realized everyone was cheating ... but I still got the job done."

And what was next for the Dr DisRespect that day?

"I'm getting in the Lamborghini Diablo VT parked outside of the convention, right, and when I get in it, do you think I'm going to the hotel? Wrong. I'm going to the nearest steak house where I'm going to order a $110 steak, I'm going to get full protein'd up, because guess what, the night has just begun."

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