‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’: The Most Points Anyone Earned on the Show was Well Over a Trillion

Whose Line Is It Anyway? is probably the most popular improv TV show ever to air on television in the United States.

Based on a British series of the same name, the show has been around for over two decades and remains hugely popular with viewers of all ages. Whose Line Is It Anyway? has gone through a number of format changes over the years, and has become notable for featuring hosts with vastly different styles.

Drew Carey, the former host of the show, introduced a “points” system that has now become legendary — and fans still can’t stop talking about the time that a guest panelist was awarded an incredible amount of points. 

‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ debuted in 1998

Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood, Drew Carey and Greg Proops
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood, Drew Carey and Greg Proops | Tom Briglia/FilmMagic

Whose Line Is It Anyway? premiered on television in 1998 to widespread acclaim. The show followed a similar format to the original British version: that is, a panel of four comedians create characters, scenes, and songs on the spot, in the style of abbreviated improvisation games, based on prompts from the host.

Many times, these games are determined through audience votes or picked by the host. The show has featured three panelists consistently throughout the series run — Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and Colin Mochrie. 

Guests frequently join the panelists to help them act out the games, and over the years, some truly big names have graced the set of Whose Line Is It Anyway? including the legendary comedian Robin Williams

Drew Carey was the original host of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’

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When Whose Line Is It Anyway? debuted in 1998, it was hosted by comedian and actor Drew Carey. Carey brought his own signature style to the show, and regularly opened each episode with the now-famous description: “the show where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.” The points in question didn’t actually contribute to winning any sort of prize, and were awarded by Carey on a purely arbitrary basis.

In spite of the fact that the points were decorative, the panelists and guest performers still strived to earn as many points as possible during the course of each episode. After each game was performed, Carey would grant each panelist a set number of points, usually around one thousand points.

However, since Carey’s points system was all arbitrary, he would frequently award random points amounts, anywhere from half a point to thousands. It makes sense that the more veteran performers would have more points over time than guests or more infrequent panelists — still, it is a guest panelist that actually holds the all-time points record on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Who is Chip Esten?

Chip Esten is an actor and comedian who has made many visits to Whose Line Is It Anyway? over the years. In fact, he is one of the show’s most frequent guest stars, and a firm audience favorite.

He appeared on the show so many times during the course of the original series run that he is often referred to as a “fourth panelist.” Carey was often impressed by Esten’s improvisational chops, and during an episode in the eighth season of the show, Carey awarded Esten the most points of anyone in the show’s history — one thousand points to the tenth power, which equals out at well over a trillion points. 

Esten remains the points record-holder for the show, a record that no one will likely ever top. Drew Carey moved on to other projects after 2007, and when the show was revived in 2013, it was hosted by Aisha Tyler, who does not utilize Carey’s points system. Therefore, it seems as though Chip Esten will remain, always and forever, the points champion of Whose Line Is It Anyway?