"When they go low, we also go low, because that’s how dodgeball works, am I right?"

By Sam Gillette
June 18, 2019 03:23 PM

Michelle Obama prefers to take the high road — except when she has a game to win.

On Monday, the former first lady appeared on The Late Late Show for a comedic match of U.S. vs. U.K. celebrity dodgeball with host James Corden. Mrs. Obama proved herself adept at smack talk … and nailing opponent Harry Styles in the groin.

“You would not believe how easy it was to get people to do this,” Mrs. Obama, 55, said after she was joined by teammates Kate Hudson, Allison Janney, Mila Kunis, Melissa McCarthy and Lena Waithe. “All I had to say was, ‘You’re gonna throw a ball at James Corden.’ ”

(For her part, Kunis said, “When Michelle Obama calls and asks you to do anything, you just say, ‘Yes.’ “)

Corden’s all-male team consisted of John Bradley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Styles and Reggie Watts, all of whom were much less confident about their captain and their chances of winning.

“When James Corden calls you, you initially ignore the call,” joked Styles, 25. “Then he keeps calling you and then he starts texting saying, ‘Hey, did you get my call?’ and then he shows up at your house, your work, your hairdresser, your pilates class and your shower.”

The Team U.S. vs Team U.K. celebrity dodgeball (featuring Michelle Obama, top left) on The Late Late Show.
Terence Patrick/CBS
U.S. vs. U.K. celebrity dodgeball on The Late Late Show
Terence Patrick/CBS

Mrs. Obama gave her team some encouraging words before the game.

“I want you to know that I’m proud of each and every one of you,” she said. “Strength is not measured on how you throw the ball, it is measured in here. When they go low, we also go low, because that’s how dodgeball works, am I right?”

The first round ended with a win for team U.S.A. after Mrs. Obama took Styles down.

“It’s hard to say who is gonna win this one,” Waithe, 35, said before the game.

Then she corrected herself: “Who am I kidding? Of course we’re going to win. It’s Obama. Michelle Obama. We’re winners.”