Veteran Entertainment Television or VET Tv was conceived in June of 2016, by founder and CEO, Donny O’Malley, also known as Danny Maher. After two deployments in the Marines he wrote a dark, war comedy called “Embarrassing Confessions of a Marine Lieutenant” that made a joke out of his last combat operation. Although gritty and raw, his book was championed by Iraq and Afghanistan combat service members, because he was the first person to ever write a book FOR combat vets. Right before publishing his book, his friend and biggest fan killed himself.
Donny decided to insert messages in the book about reaching out to other service members. The messages were meant to promote camaraderie. He then organized an event called the Silkies Hike that blew up into a nationwide movement, and then created a non-profit called Irreverent Warriors to manage the movement. 9 months later he finally started marketing his book by creating funny Facebook and YouTube videos that went viral amongst the military community.
Enough people wrote him and said, “I would pay for this,” that he decided to find a way to monetize it. This led to the creation of VET Tv – a subscription video on demand service. Functioning much like Netflix or Hulu, viewers would be able to pay $5 per month to access original content made by veterans, for veterans.
Film is an expensive endeavor and instead of taking on investors and giving up control, O’Malley decided to crowdfund, allowing the community to be involved. On October 11, 2016, armed with a 15 person crew of friends and two commercials filmed as proof of concept, VET Tv’s Kickstarter campaign officially launched. The 35 day campaign raised $296,331 from the support of 3,609 backers.
This campaign was the THIRD HIGHEST funded comedy project in Kickstarter history, beaten out by Flight of the Conchords and Mystery Science Theatre 3000, which were already internationally recognized on network television. The campaign promise was to release one episode of cinematic quality content made specifically for veterans, every week, starting in June 2017.
In February 2017, O’Malley and his team filmed the first season of “Kill, Die, Laugh” – “The Chappelle’s Show” of the military. Its intent was to shine a comedic light on controversial subjects in the military, much like Dave Chappelle shined a comedic light on racial issues in America. “Kill, Die, Laugh” talks about the issues surrounding sexual assault, suicide, PTSD, infidelity, and gender issues, just to name a few.
The network officially launched on June 23, 2017.
Filming for the next show, “A Grunt’s Life,” commences on July 10, 2017. “A Grunt’s Life” is a parody of an infantry platoon in the Helmand province in 2008. It will showcase the true thoughts, fantasies, and dialogue of combat hardened service members during war time and demonstrate the humor they must maintain to keep up with the miserable conditions, their love of killing, and their fear of being killed.