The God Squad is no joke.
In an interview with E! News, Righteous Gemstones star Adam DeVine revealed the origins of the God Squad, a group formed by his character, Kelvin Gemstone, the son of megachurch pastor Dr. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman).
Adam explained that show creator Danny McBride found inspiration in real-life Texas evangelist John Jacobs, who founded the famous Christian group the Power Team in the late 1980s. According to Vice, the ministry was incredibly popular among youth group leaders, who hired the Power Team to talk to teen congregants "about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, premarital sex and gangs."
After educating the kids on the risks of such activities, they'd invite them and their parents to evening shows, where they'd break fiery bricks with their arms and run through blocks of ice in the name of God.
Danny thought that the group fit the theme of the HBO series, which is centered around the Gemstone family, and decided to make it a part of Kelvin's story line for season two. But the Workaholics star told E! News that his character is a "weirdo," so naturally, "he's made it a little different."
John Jacobs' group of muscular men is very different from Kelvin's, whose antics include building a compound in his front yard, where he makes the parachute pants-wearing members of the God Squad work out and grow crops. If members of the Squad violate these rules, they have to bear the cross, which means they have to pick up a heavy wooden cross and drag it 30 feet until it's upright. Righteous Gemstones viewers witnessed Titus try and fail to drag the cross in episode three, titled "For He Is a Liar and the Father of Lies."
Adam says that the God Squad and all its bizarre rules are Kelvin's way of asserting control over something in his life, explaining that he "has no sort of power within his family" and the God Squad makes up for the power imbalance.
But as an actor who is simply playing a character, Adam knows that Kelvin looks pretty ridiculous: "It's like he wants the respect of his family, so he gets 40 muscular men covered in oil to work out in his front yard and he thinks that's going to get the respect that he thinks he deserves... He's like, 'Yeah, this is so badass. How cool do I look right now?' Not cool at all Kelvin."
But in the upcoming episode of Righteous Gemstones, Kelvin eats a slice of humble pie. Adam teased, "Throughout the season, he starts to grow up a little bit and he has a falling-out with his dad... and I think he learns a lot from that and he doesn't want to—he's forced to."
To find out how Dr. Eli Gemstone puts Kelvin in his place, tune in to the upcoming episode of Righteous Gemstones on HBO Sunday, Jan. 23 at 10 p.m.