Irish American comedian, writer and actor Danny McBride says religion was a huge part of his upbringing, but he turned away from it because of religious “hypocrites.”

McBride, 42, is the star and creator of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, a comedy about a family of evangelical Christians.

McBride’s ancestors were Catholics from Northern Ireland who emigrated to Virginia in the 1870s.

“By the time I came about, the McBrides were still very attached to their Irishness, except they weren’t ­Catholic anymore.

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"We went from Methodist to Lutheran to Baptist,” he told The Irish Sun.

"I had nothing to do with these ­decisions. I was just dragged along.”

McBride grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. He said people at his family’s church turned their back on his mother when she divorced his father.

“Church was very much part of my life when I was a kid. My parents were really involved and went all the time.

"Charleston is called the Holy City, because no building is allowed to be higher than a church steeple.

“My dad split on us when I was about ten and my mother, who had two kids was suddenly a single mum, working in a department store.

“Suddenly, she starts to find herself shunned at the church she had dedicated so much of her time to, so we stopped going because of people being so judgmental.

“It was so wrong and hypocritical and as a kid, it really p****d me off.”

In The Righteous Gemstones, the Gemstone family are famous televangelists who run a mega-church and use their religion to make a fortune to maintain their luxurious lifestyle.

“I don’t feel like I’m very ­righteous, but I feel like self-righteousness and hypocrisy is what this show is about, not just calling out televangelists.

“I think with social media and how people ­represent themselves in public and how they ­actually are in reality is another kind of hypocrisy.

"I find it disgusting when that’s how you make your money by presenting yourself a certain way.”

"The Righteous Gemstones" promo artwork. Credit: HBO

"The Righteous Gemstones" promo artwork. Credit: HBO

McBride said he knows the show will probably offend some people.

“In the world right now, people get mad about the smallest things and often they’re not even fully informed about what they are mad about.

“I’m sure there will be some outrage from the territory we are dancing on, but I know in my heart I’m not trying to do ­something destructive.

“I’m not going after someone for what they believe in. I’ve ­created a fictional family in a world I feel is ripe for satire.”

He added: ““Church does fulfill a certain need in people and I know when I went there was a point of meeting people from your community.

"It was something that our family needed at the time.

“My family is pretty religious. My aunt is a minister. So when I decided to do The Righteous ­Gemstones I didn’t want to do what Hollywood does often and make fun of people who believe.

“This show isn’t about taking on people who go to church, but the hypocrites who exploit people for their own gain.”

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McBride, lives with his director wife Gia Ruiz, and their two children Declan, seven, and Ava, four, in Charleston. He has visited Ireland and his relatives but hasn’t returned since he maid the 2011 film Your Highness, with James Franco and Natalie Portman.

“It was a lot of fun and a great place to work,” said McBride.

"I love how the Irish prioritize conversation, community and fun, while still getting the work done.”