Has anyone ever actually won anything from a claw machine? Brisbane comedian Chris Martin has and he's written a show all about it.
Chris will be bringing his most recent hour of live stand-up 'Claw Machine' to audiences at Sydney Fringe.
“It's not the funniest title ever but it's a solid name, and then when I was writing the show I realised there's a claw machine theme in there I can have a chat about,” Chris says.
Having debuted the show at Bris Funny Fest in 2018 and workshopped it at subsequent performances in Adelaide, Chris says the version at Sydney Fringe will be the best yet.
“This will be the latest version, I'll have taken things out, I'll add things in,” he says.
“The idea of the whole show is I talk about ageing, my relationship with my parents, my relationship with my girlfriend and various things that have happened in my life that have made me who I am.
“Then when I was putting it all together . . . I noticed that it doesn't matter if you achieve or fail at a goal, there's always a consequence regardless and that made me think of a claw machine because if you put money in a claw machine to have a go you'll either achieve it, you'll either pick up the toy, or you won't, but there's always a cost regardless.”
Believe it or not, Chris reckons he's got some mad skills when it comes to the claw machine, the best thing he ever won being a girlfriend. Well, kind of:
“Before we even started dating I won my girlfriend a toy that I think got her a little bit interested in me,” he says.
“She sent me a picture the next day of it on her desk at work and I was like 'yeah, nice'. Four years later and we're still together so that's pretty good.”
But, like his own theory of claw machines dictates, win or lose there is always a consequence.
“The most annoying prize I've ever won was a football. There was claw machines in a nightclub in Brisbane; I put my dollar in and won this big football from it that I had to lug around everywhere for the rest of the night.”
It's suggested to Chris that playing a claw machine seems a lot like gambling and that the innocent-looking arcade fixture is in fact a pernicious gateway to a lifetime of avarice.
“It is a gamble but I'm not a pokies person – I like the idea of a challenge,” he responds, putting a neat spin on the scenario.
“If you put money in to win money, that's gambling . . . It's like going to the shops, with a challenge: you buy something but you have to do a challenge to get it and you may not get it.”
'Claw Machine' plays The Factory Theatre 4-8 September.