Richard Belzer knew just how to break the ice with Ice-T when they were first paired together on "Law & Order: SVU" more than 20 years ago.
Ice-T shared with Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" on March 1 how the late comedian and actor helped him feel at ease when the rapper was settling in his new role as Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola back in 2000.
"It’s hard to talk about Belzer without being funny," Ice-T said. "Belzer got me real quick. He says, ‘Ice-T, you’re going to be my partner. You know what I look for in a script?’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘Days off.’"
Belzer, who died at 78 last month, played Detective John Munch on "SVU" from 1999 through 2013. He partnered with Ice-T's character to form a duo full of deadpan one-liners that brought dark humor to grim storylines.
Ice-T told Fallon the two "clicked really quickly" on their way to becoming beloved characters on the show.
"He said, ‘We’re both nightclub entertainers. We both don’t like working late, and we don’t like working much. Me and you will be great partners,'" Ice-T said. "I said, 'Well Belzer, you’re Jewish and I’m Black, so if the Klan come, I just gotta outrun you.' I love Belzer, man."
Ice-T also paid tribute to Belzer on Twitter on Feb. 19 after hearing the news of his death, writing, "I'll miss you Homie."
The actor was also remembered in the first "SVU" episode following his death, which ended with a card reading “In memory of Richard Belzer” in the show’s iconic font.
Belzer's death came on the heels of a momentous week for Ice-T that began with him performing alongside fellow rap legends in an epic tribute to 50 years of hip-hop at the Grammy Awards. Just days later, he was celebrated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
"So I have one of the greatest weeks of my life," Ice-T told Fallon. "I go out, have fun at the Grammys, I get this star. Everybody's like, 'Ice, Ice, this is your week.' Wake up the next day, Belzer passed away.
"So those moments when I was having fun, that was just a short blip, and now I've got to deal with the death of one of my really close friends."
Ice-T, 65, also shared that he has no plans to exit television's longest-running drama series. "SVU" is in the midst of its 24th season as a mainstay of prime-time television.
"I'mma stay on until the wheels fall off," Ice-T said. "Black people don't jump off boats, especially when they're still floating, you understand?"