The announcement that Olivia Munn, co-host of G4’s tech-culture rundown Attack of the Show, was to be the newest Daily Show correspondent (“senior Asian correspondent,” officially), became, quickly and surprisingly, controversial. Feminist blog Jezebel jumped on the fact that Munn, who recently placed eighth on Maxim’s “Hot 100” list, seemed to be trading on her good looks. Other blogs, like Slate, came to her rescue, and The Daily Show women even penned an open letter in response to allegations of sexism at their show. With all she’s got going on, though, Munn is probably too busy to give it much thought. Her sitcom, Perfect Couples, was picked up by NBC for mid-season, and this week sees the release of her cheeky autobiography, Suck It, Wonder Woman! Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek. During some rare downtime, Munn spoke to Vulture about it all.
How did it feel when you landed the Daily Show gig?
This was the first time in my life I cried from happiness. I thought people only did that in the movies.
You recently appeared on a panel at the Summit Series. Because of Attack of the Show, you’ve become the go-to celebrity for tech things.
I’m still very much of the consumer world, so when they bring me in for these [confabs], I talk more on a feeling level and can be brutally honest. Like, at Summit, I think they were shocked when I said that 3-D is completely useless. Really, no one gives a shit about it. It’s a gimmick; it’s about money. It’s like taking a date to a drive-in: It’s fun for a second, but I’m still sitting in my fucking car.
That’s going to sound like sacrilege to a lot of your audience …
I mean, until they create a hover-car, I’m not that impressed with technology. All these devices, they’re not really giving me time.
BlackBerry or iPhone?
BlackBerry all the way. I like a real keyboard. In fact, because of all the time I’ve spent in hair and makeup, where they’re always asking you to close your eyes, I can now text with my eyes closed. [Proceeds to tap out a couple of sentences while looking straight ahead at her interviewer.]
In your book, you mention your childhood broken home. How has that informed your ambition?
I had a very abusive stepfather, so there was a lot of bad shit in my family. I found a picture of myself the day they got married. Everybody else is all dressed up and smiling, and I’m just staring into the camera. It’s like I knew, This is not going to be good. I learned to have a good appearance on the outside, and then deep down inside just live with it. My stepfather was in the Air Force, and we moved around a lot, which forced me to learn to be quick and to use my sense of humor to make friends. That experience made me very resilient. So right now there’s nobody holding me down, and I want to do everything I can
You’re 29, kind of young to be penning an autobiographical book.
I want young girls who read it to feel empowered that there’s somebody who went through all of this and made it out on the other end. I was disliked because I was the new girl in every school I went to. I know it’s cool [for celebrities] to say, “Oh, I don’t care about being popular.” Well, I cared. I get that it’s important in that moment, if not in the grand scheme of life.
Despite having been in photo spreads in Complex and Playboy, you didn’t pose naked. How do you feel about trading in on your good looks?
Looks are temporary. The audience is way too smart for that. And I’ve worked too hard and I’ve gone through too much shit for it to be temporary.
You say that you don’t consider yourself a feminist. Why not?
I just consider myself a person in this world who wants to stand up for everyone who can’t stand up for themselves. I care just as much about the guys as I do about the girls. I want geeks to feel empowered to stand with people who are more socially accepted. And I want girls to feel that they can be pretty and funny and edgy and not apologize for it.
Finally, the most important question: How many computers do you own?
Five. I’ve been using the computer so much that it’s actually changing my body. When you’re at the computer, your jaw kind of goes into your shoulder, and it shortens your calf muscle and elongates your thigh. So I’m evolving, like a monkey, only in the opposite direction … But I’ll be the only monkey that can BlackBerry blind. I guarantee it.