Chip Esten

Charles "Chip" Esten (born September 9 1965) is an American actor and singer known for his appearances on the improvisation show Whose Line Is It Anyway?.


Early life

Esten was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Educated at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Esten moved to the United Kingdom to make his theatrical debut, winning massive acclaim for his title role in the musical Buddy.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

In 1992, his potential was spotted by the makers of Whose Line Is It Anyway? who asked him to audition for an episode, which he did successfully. Consequently, Esten made his debut on the Channel 4 show and "won" the episode, reading the credits in the style of an auctioneer. He subsequently appeared in more episodes later the same year when the show did a run in New York. At the time, the show needed a second specialist improvisational singer to account for episodes when Mike McShane wasn't on, and thus Esten proved a worthwhile experiment.

Esten made one more appearance in the UK edition in 1994 before moving back to the USA and playing the role of Luke in Party of Five. Although in demand as a jobbing actor on stage and screen thereafter, it was his 1999 return to Whose Line Is It Anyway? — in the show's new-look American format, with Drew Carey as host — which established him with a mainstream American audience. He became a regular "fourth contestant" on the show and continues to be adept at the singing games in particular, though has satisfied his early potential to become an outstanding all-round improviser.

He is currently a member of the touring Improv All-Stars group.

Film appearances

In 2001, Esten appeared in Billy Crystal's TV movie 61* as Kevin Maris, the son of legendary New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris.

Esten had small roles in three Kevin Costner movies, The Postman, Thirteen Days, and Swing Vote

Esten also starred in a public service video, "Riding Straight", produced for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's curriculum, "Motorcycle Rider Course: Riding and Street Skills" (MRC:RSS). Esten portrayed a surfer dude, a snuff-dipping hick, and a concerned friend in a bar. Esten's performance, in turns over-the-top comedy and sincere public service message, greatly invigorated the drug- and alcohol-awareness portion of the MRC:RSS. The video, part of a curriculum update for a younger "MTV generation" audience, replaced a filmstrip-like anti-alcohol short.


Esten appeared in several episodes of The Office as Josh Porter, the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin's Stamford branch.

He also appeared as Kelly Bundy's equally stupid ex-con boyfriend in the final episode of Married... with Children.

Also starred in one episode of Just Shoot Me as the friend Elliot feels he has an emotional connection. Soon to be found in Finch.

He portrayed a Klingon named Divok in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Rightful Heir" as well as Dathan, an Enaran, in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Remember."

He was a contestant on the game show version of Scrabble under the name Chip Puscar on March 21, 1990, two days before the show ended its first run on NBC.

Esten also had a recurring role on the TV show The Winner, playing the boyfriend of Alison.

He also appeared on the TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in Season 4, Episode 10 "Stop The Presses" as Ethan Press.

He has just started appearing on ER as orthopedic surgeon Barry Grossman. He appears to be staying on the show longer because he may become a love interest of Parminder Nagra's character.

Personal life

Esten is married to Patty Esten — whom he met at college — and they have two daughters, Taylor and Addie, and a son, Chase. They currently live in Los Angeles.


External links

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