Olivia Munn talks about her new 'The Daily Show' gig
Image 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?
OLIVIA MUNN: 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.