Olivia Munn stars in two television series and graces the current cover of Maxim, but eight years ago, armed with a freshly earned journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma, Munn was slugging it out for 12 hours a day on the assignments desk at KJRH-TV in Tulsa.
And she was counting the minutes until she could leave.
“I was killing myself,” said Munn, who can be seen as Leigh on the series premiere of “Perfect Couples” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on KFOR-TV Channel 4. “I sat at the assignment desk listening to the scanners. I promised my mom I would work someplace for a year. A year to the day, I walked out of that place. I was literally logging in time like I was in prison.”
Just three years after packing it in at KJRH and leaving for California, Munn fully established herself as the geek goddess extraordinaire on G4's “Attack of the Show,” a live daily series in which she and co-host Kevin Pereira spotlighted new technology, games and pop culture. It is where Munn earned a reputation for deadly comic timing and for knowing and loving what guys like. In one famous segment, she appeared at the 2009 Comic-Con in San Diego dressed like Princess Leia in her metal bikini — a move guaranteed to turn the brains of most Jedi knights into useless ooze.
Munn left her perch at “AOTS” in 2010, but only because her time is in short supply these days. Last year, she became the “Senior Asian Correspondent” for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (a nod to the Chinese half of her ancestry), and when “Perfect Couples” creators Jon Pollack and Scott Silveri asked for casting ideas, Munn received high praise from experts in the field.
“Scott and Jon asked Tina Fey and Robert Carlock at ‘30 Rock' for recommendations of who they thought should be in a show, and both Tina and Robert recommended me,” Munn said during a recent phone interview. “So, Scott and Jon wrote the role with me in mind after seeing my stuff.
“They were actually telling me a story yesterday — they said, ‘We were the guys who didn't want to hire you based on your looks. We hired you because we heard you were funny — we're the only guys in the world who didn't know you were on the cover of Maxim,'” she said.
Apparently, Silveri and Pollack were not among the nearly 200,000 people following Munn on Twitter, where she regularly posts the where, when and how of her life and career, along with Twitpics that stoke the fires of geek love among her fans. With the two series, a role in the upcoming Sarah Jessica Parker film, “I Don't Know How She Does It” and tweeting all her in-between moves, Munn is constantly in the thick of things. She doesn't know how she does it, but she knows why.
“You know what it is? It's just being so appreciative. This business can be so arbitrary and success is so hard to attain and can be fleeting,” Munn said. “When you're out here and you see how hard it is to get these opportunities, when they come around you just want to put all the effort to make sure you can do it all and not say no to anything.
“For me, to be able to have an NBC show and do ‘The Daily Show' and being able to start a movie, there is nothing else I would want to do. I would be devastated to lose any of them,” she said.