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Melissa McCarthy has a hilarious story behind that prayer sign she held for Mariska Hargitay

Melissa McCarthy had a good reason for not answering Mariska Hargitay's text messages as Hargitay recovered from a broken ankle.
/ Source: TODAY

Melissa McCarthy was not going to let down her friend Mariska Hargitay, even if it meant standing on the street in Burbank, California, holding a sign asking for people to honk in support of the injured "Law & Order: SVU" star.

The actor and comedian shared the story with Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" Monday behind her supportive gesture that left Hargitay smiling and drivers honking when she took to the street in front of a Wienerschnitzel last month with a sign reading, “Honk if you’re praying for Mariska Hargitay’s recovery!!!”

McCarthy, 50, was showing her support for her friend after Hargitay, 57, suffered an injury that left her right ankle in a cast, which came just six weeks after she suffered a broken knee, a torn ligament and a hairline fracture of her other ankle.

A little guilt over unreturned text messages spurred McCarthy to hit the street with her sign.

"She's a really good texter and I'm terrible," McCarthy said about Hargitay. "Sometimes I put my phone in my purse for three days and people are like, 'Where are you?' And she sent me a really funny text of like, 'Oh, don't worry, I'm just here in a lot of pain recovering, I guess you're too busy to respond to my text.'"

That was enough for McCarthy to step up her friend game.

"And so I was like, 'OK, game on.' So now I have to make it seem like this is why I didn't get back to you, because I was petitioning for prayers," she said. "And so we literally jumped in the car, and as you do in Burbank, to Wienerschnitzel, and I just jumped up and down and cars honked. And I think they were like, 'What?!'"

She put on a green jumpsuit, a black baseball cap and a matching mask and jumped up and down on the street holding her sign. She shared the scene in a video on Instagram.

"If you can’t produce quality care for your friend after ankle surgery, the next best (is) obviously standing outside Wienerschnitzel with a sign @therealmariskahargitay ❤️💥" she wrote on Instagram.

McCarthy not only earned plenty of honks and laughs, she achieved her most important mission - cheering up her good friend. Hargitay shared the clip of McCarthy with her Instagram followers.

“Above and beyond," she wrote. "Honk if you’re blown away by @melissamccarthy’s heart and humor. Might be worth breaking my ankle for.”

Hargitay also jumped in the comments on TODAY's Instagram post about the incident.

"If this isn’t true friendship, we don’t know what is!" we had captioned the picture.

"Truth!" Hargitay commented. "A joybringer! That’s what she is!"

It also was affirmation for McCarthy, who wasn't quite sure about the response when she was on the street.

"I can't tell if they were thinking like 'Get well, Mariska,' or if they were like, 'Get out of the way!'" she joked to Fallon.