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OU graduate Olivia Munn gets ‘Perfect' in new show

‘Perfect Couples' star Olivia Munn talks about her Oklahoma roots, ‘Attack of the Show' and her two television gigs, ‘The Daily Show' and ‘Perfect Couples'
BY GEORGE LANG Modified: January 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm •  Published: January 19, 2011

Born Lisa Olivia Munn in 1980, she spent her first eight years living in Oklahoma City before life in a military family took her to Tokyo. At 16, after her parents divorced, Munn moved back to Oklahoma City and attended Putnam City North High School for her junior and senior years before enrolling at OU.

During her studies, Munn held an internship at KWTV Channel 9, and it started on one of the worst days in that station's history: Jan. 26, 2001, when the station lost its longtime sports anchor, Bill Teegins.

“My first day was the day of the Oklahoma State basketball plane crash, and Bill was on it,” she said. “I just remember having to call his cell phone, over and over, and it went straight to voice mail every time.”

After her one-year stint at KJRH, she moved to California and got a gig doing women's basketball sideline reporting for Fox Sports. Meanwhile, she was going to auditions, appeared in some direct-to-DVD schlock as Lisa Munn (she's “Girl No. 1” in 2004's “Scarecrow Gone Wild”) and eventually earned her spot as the most visible personality on G4. Her four years on “Attack of the Show” were marked by Munn's unique fearlessness when it came to comedy and her tongue-in-cheek willingness to exploit her looks.

“That's the beauty of live television,” she said. “To many people, they curb back and are so afraid of offending anyone that they, I think, end up offending everyone by being vanilla and boring. I was just trying to be very honest and real and have the same humor that I have around my friends. It was really big for us that we wanted ... it to feel like you were still hanging out with your friends. It was one of the best experiences of my career.”

Her willingness to go all out is on full display on the February 2011 cover of Maxim — the image was provocative enough to receive denunciations from the conservative Media Research Center. (“You know, I think these people need to find a hobby, because I can't be their hobby anymore,” she said of the brouhaha.) But for Munn, this is par for the course: a Jan. 13 Twitpic of her eating cookies backstage at “The Late Show with David Letterman” caused almost as much palpitation. As Entertainment Weekly noted, “Poor girl can't even eat a cookie without causing a scene.”

But frequently, quietly and without causing a scene, Munn comes back to Oklahoma to visit her mother, who lives in Nichols Hills. She said she is proud to be from here, and even told Letterman that when she moved back to Oklahoma City, Munn found that her Tokyo-bred sense of style was outpaced by her new classmates at PC North.

“Wait a minute,” Letterman said. “You're telling me that Oklahoma, in terms of fashion and culture, is more advanced than Japan? Well, that's food for thought.”

Munn said she will continue to stay busy: she has already shot 13 episodes of “Perfect Couples.” It's a work ethic she adopted during those days of having her ears glued to police scanners in Tulsa.

“I decided that I would never be the reason that I heard ‘No,'” she said.