Olivia Munn Verbicide 2008

Olivia Munn Verbicide June 2008.

You’ve admitted to sucking at video games, but you co-host a video game show. How did you make it through the rigorous video game host screening process? Performance enhancing drugs? Cybernetics?
Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever used the term “sucking”, but I’m far less sophisticated at video games than all of my viewers.  Does that sound better than “sucking”? No? Okay, I might suck.

But, to answer your question of how I made it through the censors to become the new host of “Attack of the Show”… well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know. Maybe the best way to describe how I got the job is to tell you about my audition. My agent called me and gave me an appointment to audition for G4. I went in and did my thing. I remember very clearly that I walked into the audition promising to just “be myself”. See, as an actress/host in LA you’re always running around trying to get work and you just want everyone to like you and in that process, I think it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and you just try to be “perfect”.  And what you have to realize, and what I realized right before my G4 audition, is that trying to be perfect is annoying and no one likes that. And the only thing I can bring to the table that no one else can, is me. If I was myself, they’ll either love it or hate it. But at least I was being true to myself, and that, I could live with. Thankfully, the executives really liked me and offered me the job. The fact of the matter is that Kevin, my co-host, is tech-savvy and amazing at video games. I didn’t need to be. I came in to be myself and I’ve found out more about myself on air than I did off-air. For example: I’ll slip around in baby oil and dislocate my shoulder on live TV and not cry. I’m stronger than I thought.

You have a pretty quick-witted, well-developed sense of low-brow humor. With women, I’ve noticed that this is usually a direct result of being raised in a household filled with men or filled with tragedy. Where do you think your humor comes from?
It’s both. From the outside, my family seemed perfect. Like “The Brady Bunch.” My mother remarried when I was two years old to a man who already had two children. With my sister, that made four children and then my mother had my little brother- there were five of us in this traditional mixed family. I knew early on to make people think everything was amazing.. In reality, my stepfather (who my mother later divorced) was a horrible person, father, husband and man. To escape the yelling and hitting, I became the clown of the family. I wanted to do anything to make my brothers and sisters laugh. After almost every movie we watched, I would act out all the parts… but in a completely satirical, not-quite-perfect way. I soon moved on to teachers. If you ever see me, ask me to do “Miss Phillips”… it was my trademark back in the day. It was my impersonations that got my first laughs. And when my big brother, Jimmy, would laugh, I felt like the coolest kid in the world. I always admired him and wanted him to think I was funny. So, I was always taking cues from him and trying to learn to keep up with his quick-wit. My older sister has a very dry sense of humor, so I got a lot of that from her.

When are you gonna pull a “Greg Kinnear” and make the jump to indie movie super stardom?
When I first started at G4 I had to turn down a lot of theatrical work. It sucked. I only came onto the network if I could continue to act. By the time I came onto the network, I had only been in LA for a year before I got my first movie and TV series. I really wanted to keep up both.. But, some “stuff” had to be figured out and now G4 works with me on letting me take on other work. I just finished a movie with the Broken Lizard comedy troupe called “The Slammin’ Salmon” and we actually created a TV series together that we’re pitching. But, indie movie stardom? I would be so thankful to keep working and making movies. I’m always reading scripts and ready to work. I love working. And I love being creative. But, I do mean it when I say I don’t want to leave G4. I love my coworkers, fans, and Kevin.  As long as I can keep acting, I will stay at G4 as long as they’ll have me.

You vs. the boys at Penny Arcade: who would win in a fight?
Now are we talking virtual fighting on an arcade game or like anything goes-scratch your eyes-kick you in the crotch-fighting? If it’s the latter, I’m totally dominating. My mom put me in years of karate, so I’m pretty good at taking care of myself…. That combined with the fact that I am feisty, scrappy, and don’t back down could be fatal. But seriously, I feel confident I could hold my own.

You vlog and blog pretty often as a way to keep in contact with your fans, even going so far as to give people a glimpse into your private family life. Even in this age of overexposed celebrity, do you feel like you have a responsibility to do this? Has it mostly been a good experience?
I started blogging and vlogging because I do want to stay connected with the fans. I don’t know if I would say I feel “obligated” to do it, but I do know that I owe so much to my fans. And I know they like me as a person. Because on my show, I’m not just a talking head reading a prompter or asking stupid questions like “and how do you feel?” or “who are you wearing?”  I know they feel like they know me and in a way they do. So, I like reaching out to them and giving them a closer look at me off air. I might regret being so open, but right now I feel like I want them to be a part of my life. If you met any of my fans, you would know that they are some of the most loyal friends, smartest and coolest people and you’d want them in your world, too.

Because of your work on G4 you’ve become a sort of geek/gamer sex symbol and you used to model when you lived in Japan. What are the ups and downs of working in a business so concerned with your sex appeal?
Pie. I can’t eat all the pie I want. On the show we answered a viewer question about how we stay in shape. And in a moment of pure honesty, I confessed that sometimes I eat so much pie (banana cream to be exact) that I don’t…correction, can’t button my size 25 jeans and go an entire show with my pants unbuttoned. I think that there are so many bad body images out there. We see all these celebrities that are so skinny and we think that’s what beauty is. And it’s not just girls and women.

I was at an Academy Awards party recently in New York. I was the only female amongst a sea of men. And on the high-def flat screen we watched all of the beautiful stars walk the stage. But, apparently they weren’t beautiful enough. These men started talking about the upper arms of all these actresses. The upper arms! When did men stop talking about asses and boobs and start talking about upper arms? It made me realize that all these guys are influenced by the media just as much as us women. They’re so used to seeing all these super skinny girls be put on pedestals and they think “oh, that’s what’s beautiful.” And I hate that. Now we’re all living up to some ridiculous, unhealthy image…and not just that–some men want us to be like that, too. So I want to change the face of beauty because if there are more regular-sized, not perfectly toned, not artificially augmented women in the media, maybe that will be the new beautiful. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be healthy and workout, but we shouldn’t have to always fight to look a certain way. It’s okay to be a little soft in some areas and to not be super skinny. Yes, I want to look like Giselle. But, I don’t. I want to be happy with myself and I don’t want pressure to be someone else. And I think women all over should stand up and be at their physical best for themselves and know that whatever that “best” is, is beautiful.

What’s the hardest part about doing live TV? Any horror stories?
Live TV is so much fun, because you get one take. So, if you mess up you learn to roll with it and laugh at yourself. And you learn to improv a lot more…it keeps me quick on my feet. My biggest problem is censoring myself…I’ve been accused of “not thinking before I speak.” But, if you know me, you’d know that I’m a quick thinker and talker. The problem, is my censor. I think of something crass or horrible to say, and I speak it. The thought that goes through my head in the split-second before I say it is usually, “Oh man, that’s horrible. I bet someone will laugh.” Like today I announced on air that I wasn’t wearing panties. It was kind of within the context of what I was talking about. But still I said it. That’s live TV.

What do you miss most about Japan?
I miss the tradition. I love how rich and proud Japan’s culture is. When you’re in Japan you really feel like you’re there. Sometimes when you go to a foreign country, you’re like, “Wow, it’s so crazy to be here, next to the Colosseum…is that a McDonald’s?” And it kind of takes you out of it. But, in Japan, you’re like, “Holy crap! That’s Mt. Fuji…and there’s a real life Geisha…and there’s seaweed on my Filet o Fish?” Even when they bring in outside/American influences, they give it their own touch. You still feel like you’re in Japan. I love it there. And miss it often.

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