Olivia Munn talks about her new 'The Daily Show' gig

Olivia-MunnImage Credit: Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic.comBesides being the best-dressed guest editor PopWatch has ever had, geek goddess Olivia Munn has made her name as the host of G4’s Attack of the Show. That might be about to change: she made her debut last week as The Daily Show‘s new Senior Asian Correspondent (to the great dismay of Aasif Mandvi, who also claims to be Asian). That’s on top of some other items in Munn’s busy schedule: starring in NBC’s new comedy Perfect Strangers, co-writing the new book Suck it, Wonder Woman!, and leading a PETA-assisted revolt against Barnum and Bailey. (She’s also got a potential big role in an upcoming high-profile movie, though details are hush-hush at this time.)

EW.com caught up with Munn in between meetings – she’s prepping her first Daily Show field segment – to talk about her new job, fun things to do with Barack Obama, and how Back to the Future 2 lied to a generation of impressionable children.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this all come together? Did The Daily Show approach you?
Yeah! I was out here [in New York] for the upfronts for Perfect Couples. Jon Stewart saw some of my stuff online. As he told me, he saw it and said, “Yeah, she has what we want for the show.” They emailed and said, “Hey, we realize she has this new show on NBC, but do you think we could meet her for The Daily Show?” I was like: “Are you f—ing… YES!” I came in to meet him the day after the upfronts. We sat and we talked for two hours. Literally the next day, they said, “We want her to be a part of the show.”

So how will your participation work going forward?
I have been asked to stay and be part of the Daily Show family. I’m exclusive to NBC, but I’m hoping that they can work it out. Everybody at the Daily Show has said they’re completely down for making it work around the NBC schedule.

So right now you’re filming your second appearance?
Yeah, I’m getting ready to do my first field assignment.

Can you give us a little tease?
It’s Obama and I on a yacht. It was something that I pitched. I guess Obama was down for it. Michelle was totally cool. It’s deep-sea diving. Just hangin’ out. No, I’m just kidding. Wouldn’t that be great? “So Olivia, come to the pitch meeting!” “Great, thanks guys! Thanks for having me! I’m just so honored. No, I don’t want to go to the Gulf, it’s too hot. Um, no, not Afghanistan. I was thinking St. Bart’s, with the Obamas. What do you guys think? And by the way, room temperature water. I need that in here now, guys. Thanks!”

How is Daily Show Olivia Munn different from Attack of the Show Olivia Munn?
The Daily Show
is an acting gig. Attack of the Show is me hosting and being myself, being jokey but being me. Everything on The Daily Show is scripted. I was born to play a part like this on The Daily Show. My destiny is to be able to get away with racist jokes. And if there’s one place to do that, it’d be here. “I’m kidding! It’s The Daily Show. [Pause] Am I really?”

Typically, new Daily Show correspondents have been unknowns from the comedy circuit. You have an actual public following.
Jon said that to me when I first met him: “It’s a little backwards. Most people come here, and then go off and get the NBC show. But you’ve already got that.” I just said, “This is the f—ing Daily Show. This is THE F—ING Daily Show!” I’m still in awe of everything.

How are you getting along with the other correspondents?
Really great. Today, Aasif, Samantha Bee, and Jason Jones came into this meeting with the field producers, just to give me their experience from the field. Jason had a lot of really great tips. Aasif is just so angry about the whole Asian thing. His dressing room is right next to mine, and he keeps saying things into the vent. It’s really annoying. He’s got a very distinct voice, so I know it’s him. Samantha asked me to call her Sammy B. Whatever! We’re best friends! It’s a thing! Please quote me on that, so that people know we’re best friends. I’ve become obsessed with her. I may get in trouble for saying this, but she pulled me aside when I first got there, and said that to get to the top, I would have to sleep with her.

So you’re not going to be competing with her for amount of pregnancies per year?
Unless I’m carrying her child. I’m down for that. She’s really…her hair is so pretty. [Pause] That’s it. I’d just like people to know how pretty her hair is. It’s so shiny and silky.

So besides TV, movies, and books, what’s the next step in the global-domination scheme?
I am working on an iPhone app. That’ll probably come out by end of year. As always, I’m working on my hoverboard. I’d like to just point it out to everyone who’s listening: I’m really disappointed in the future. I cannot believe that we don’t have hoverboards by now. If I could go back and tell 8-year-old Me, bribing kids in kindergarten to play with her because I was always the new kid, I’d say, “Hey, you don’t always have to give away your Cabbage Patch. Guess what: in 21 years, you’re gonna actually have an NBC show, from the people who did Friends and 30 Rock, and you’re gonna be on The Daily Show, which is the best f—ing news show, ever. Stop crying!” And you know what 8-year-old Olivia is gonna say? “What about the hoverboard? Am I hovering? On a board? Am I, Olivia?” No, you’re not. “Then I’m gonna go back to crying. And bribing kids.”

We had a couple commenter questions from our post about your Daily Show debut. Raz asked: How does your work on The Daily Show affect Attack of the Show?
That is a little bit more difficult. I’ve got Perfect Couples, which shoots in LA, and Daily Show, in New York. I’m in my fourth year at G4. I would like to continue to grow as an artist, and doing theatrical work is important to me. So that’s why Daily Show and Perfect Couples and any movie that comes up, that schedule takes priority. Any other time I have, I’d love to be at G4.

They’re open to you going off and doing all this other stuff?
[Pause] Hm, how do I put it. They are supportive, yes.

Another question, from Marc: “Please ask Olivia what pie-related stunt she will do next to top her famous, fantastic pie jump from last year?”
Well, I think that The Daily Show might be bringing out a massive bowl of ramen for me to jump into. I just made that up, but I like the sound of it.

You could do that with Obama.
When you say “massive bowl of ramen,” “jumping,” and “Olivia,” Obama’s a given.

Olivia Munn, welcome to ‘The Daily Show’!
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Comments (61 total) Add your comment
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  • Dwight

    She was really good on her first show. Seems to be a very nice addition to the cast.

    • David

      She was terrible and is completely talent devoid. At least on screen.

      She is in NO way a geek goddess. She is a dull hipster poseur.

      I heard Jon Stewart was cruising youtube and saw her jump in a pool of whip cream or some such nonsense, got a woodrow and called his people.

      She has horrible comedic timing and is insufferable as an irredeemably ignorant and unprepared interviewer.

      • Chloe in Chatsworth, CA


  • elena

    Is it weird to say I kind of love seeing Olivia grow and all that kind of stuff? When she’s just being silly on AoTS, it’s the stuff of genius (Kevin and Olivia should be in your best TV pairings gallery. you can’t fake that kind of chemistry and camaraderie), but now she’s got cameos in Iron Man 2 and Date Night, AND has an NBC show this fall, AND is a correspondent on The Daily Show…girl’s destined for famousocity. Plus she’s a sweetheart. Yay?

  • Brendan

    I like Munn a lot…she is soooooo funny. Will miss her on G4 if she leaves, though! Poor Kevin!!

    • JenR

      I know. The other co-hosts just don’t have the same chemistry with him. I would prefer Allison Haslip to Morgan Webb as her replacement though. Morgan tries to hard. Allison is more natural.

    • Dustin

      2 things. I think she’d leave The Daily Show before AOTS. Plus, G4 is wrapped up with NBC/E!/etc so it has a better chance. And 2, I’d like to try Morgan Webb, Hard. UP TOP!

      Plus, just don’t let it be Chris Hardwick. I want run him over with a monster truck.

  • Madd

    I haven’t watched Attack of the Show, and I missed the episode of The Daily Show she was in. Is she actually funny?

    • JaySin420

      Yea I’m curious about her too, but the people behind the daily show obviously know what they are doing.

      It’s amazing how many big stars have come from that show in such a small amount of time.

    • JenR

      She’s funny. She’ll take a risk and put herself out there for the sake of a joke and then get embarrassed that she did it. It’s endearing.

  • bamalam

    I love Olivia…but maybe they can bring back Sarah from before Olivia. She seemed to have a good time during the 1000th episode of AOTS…

  • Ian

    Love her! She is hilarious!

  • Yes

    Aasif “claims” to be Asian? Are you kidding here? Are you questioning that?

    • DP

      Yes, it’s a joke from her first piece.

      • Guest

        He’s asian. India is in Asia.

        Its strange because many think that Asian means Chinese, Japanese, etc. and forget that Asia includes India and Pakistan.

        Then there are those from Eastern Asia that object to being called Oriental. My observation is that in England, Asians refer to the subcontinent (India, Pakistan) while Orientals refer to Chinese (mongoloid types)

        Me, Mongoloid type from San Diego that doesn’t object to Oriental

      • guest

        humor me

  • Suzy

    LOVE her. This makes me so happy.

  • Amy

    Eh, not looking to her new NBC show or any future movies. Her acting wasn’t all that great on Greek.

  • Ana

    I didn’t find her that funny. The sketch turn funny because of the other correspondents. Hope it gets better.

    • DavidJ

      Just give it time. Wyatt Cenac was pretty shaky at first too, but he’s really come into his own recently.

    • Katja

      I agree with DavidJ – they’re almost always a little shaky at first. Jason Jones used to be, in my opinion, and Wyatt Cenac DEFINITELY was, for several of his first segments. Aasif is the only recent-ish addition I can think of that started out strong. But they’re all hilarious now, regardless of where they started on the show. I’m optimistic about Olivia Munn for now.

    • Cletis

      I disagree. I watched her closely while the other correspondents were talking, and thought that her ability to communicate her character’s thoughts and emotions facial expressions and other nonverbal cues was better than any of the others. I think you may have just been fooled into thinking she was meek and naive because that’s what her character was supposed to be feeling. I was actually quite impressed with her actual acting chops, given her completely acting-free gig on AOTS.

  • DavidJ

    She definitely comes across pretty funny in this interview. Can’t wait to see more of her on TDS.

  • Tracey

    I’ve never seen Olivia Munn in anything before, but HOLY GOD she was AWFUL on The Daily Show. Just dull and unfunny. You could definitely tell she’s not a professional comedian.

    • Samantha

      Wow. Every single blog out there has said how amazing she was. She was funny and natural and it was clear how much the other correspondents liked her. Maybe YOU’RE just dull and unfunny.

      • Tracey

        Are you seriously busting out 3rd grade insults here? What am I supposed to say in reply to this? I am rubber you are glue?

    • Judy

      I agree with Tracey, she was only funny in the segment because of the other correspondents coming together. She might get better like Wyatt and Jason did, but you could definitely tell she’s new to this show.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    She’s annoying.

    • Dustin

      you’re annoying. shes hot. you lose

  • Julia

    I saw her on TDS. She seemed a tad nervous but I’m sure she’ll be very good. I had never heard of her before.

  • eyeheartnyc

    It was hard to tell if she was funny – the rest of the correspondents hilariously stole the segment out from under her. She was definitely better than the last guy they tried out (Josh Gad, I think) and funnier than Kristen Schaer (or whatever her last name is).

    • brian

      Josh Gad got the raw end of the deal, he rocked. We support you Josh Gad.

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