Douglas Darien Walker is an American film critic, comedian, actor, and YouTuber. Based in the city of Chicago, Walker is best known for playing his created fictional character Nostalgia Critic, a vulgar and childish nerd who reviews media content considered to be nostalgic or relevant to western pop culture.
Walker originally posted his media reviews independently with the help of his brother, Robert “Rob” Walker, who often appears in Nostalgia Critic skits as the fictional characters “Chart Guy”, a myopic and satirical but well-meaning corporate analyst wearing a power suit , and “Santa Christ”. After dealing with allegations of copyright infringement for featuring clips out of various films and television shows, the Walker Brothers got the Nostalgia Critic skits amalgamated into content creation company Channel Awesome, and features of longer media clips were replaced in favor of acted-out skits and cutaway gags.Doug Walker continues to appear at conventions and community events to meet fans; since the COVID-19 pandemic, he has largely reduced his physical presence in public spaces.
Douglas Darien Walker was born on November 17, 1981, in Naples, Italy, to his parents Barney and Sandra. His family relocated to the United States after his father’s deployment ended. He spent his childhood as a Navy brat, moving from state to state due to his father’s career, during which he developed a strong passion for films and television. Walker majored in Communications at Northern Illinois University.
Currently he lives in Chicago with his wife, Robin Poage, whom he married in 2012, and their two cats, Chaplin, and Buster.
After graduating college, Walker worked as an illustrator to earn money, and started making videos on the then fairly new YouTube in his spare time, where his early posts of the “Nostalgia Critic” character grabbed viewer attention. Walker has stated that the Nostalgia Critic character is primarily inspired by Daffy Duck and the Queen of Hearts, as well as by comedians Lewis Black, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Murray. In 2008–2009, during the Great Recession, Walker moved his skits from YouTube to independent site That Guy With the Glasses, and later to Channel Awesome. The majority of his skits have since reappeared on YouTube, and form a full web series spanning several seasons. Walker now works as a full-time content creator and staff member of Channel Awesome in Chicago, under the leadership of CEO Mike Michaud. Walker also performs in other videos for Channel Awesome, notably “Doug Reviews”, “Bum Reviews”, and “Charity Shoutouts”, which are affixed to the end credits of Nostalgia Critic skits, where Walker promotes various international charities to inspire viewers of Channel Awesome to donate to them. Walker works with fellow actors and comedians Malcolm Ray and Tamara Chambers predominantly, along with Rob Walker.
Walker’s Nostalgia Critic character will at times compliment an actor in a film he views as otherwise bad, and has been known at times to even get a personal response from actors and celebrities, most notably Mara Wilson, a former child actress who had appeared in two films that Walker criticized. In Walker’s review of the film A Simple Wish, he surprised viewers with a guest appearance of the real Mara Wilson, who mocked the Critic in turn for bizarre home videos that he had made in the 1990s. Wilson had grown to like Doug Walker after realizing that Nostalgia Critic was merely a fictional character and that the real Doug Walker held no hatred towards her as a person.
As a character based in satire, Nostalgia Critic episodes balance comedy with some legitimate critical points about films and television, including the rise of crude humour and sexual content in children’s media, the overuse of CGI in modern film-making, the spike in Disney live-action remakes, and the ways in which media portrays minorities and historically disadvantaged groups. The episodes often end with a much more mellowed-out Critic speaking calmly about the ultimate pros and cons of each film he reviews, followed by the Channel Awesome logo appearing with a spoken line of comedic dialogue quoted from some part of the episode itself.