Michelle Obama made the phrase “when they go low, we go high” famous. On Monday night, she offered a competitive twist on the rise-above-it mantra.
In a celebrity dodgeball match between Team USA and Team U.K. on James Corden’s “Late Late Show,” the former first lady told her squad it’s sometimes okay to sink to your opponents’ level. “When they go low . . . we also go low — because that’s how dodgeball works,” Obama instructed her teammates, who included actresses Melissa McCarthy, Allison Janney, Mila Kunis, Kate Hudson and Lena Waithe.
The A-list band of athletes took on Team U.K., helmed by the late-night host, and composed of singer Harry Styles, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, “Game of Thrones” star John Bradley and “Late Late Show” bandleader Reggie Watts (who is actually not a Brit, in a running gag throughout the skit).
The faceoff between the two teams was depicted as a way of settling a good-spirited debate between Corden and Obama over their respective country’s superiority. Team USA eventually prevailed, 2-1, in the three-game series, with a highlight reel that included a direct crotch hit to Styles by Obama and Cumberbatch nailing Obama in Game Three. (Of the latter, the announcer said, “He’s looking guilty about that one. He can probably expect a visit from the Secret Service later.”)
Of course, it’s clear throughout who was going to prevail: While the U.S. team stayed focused, Corden’s guys spent their breaks sipping tea, eating sandwiches and asking Obama to sign copies of her memoir, “Becoming.”