By {{Bob Smiley}}, courtesy of {{Christian Musician}}

To properly look at GMA, one must first know what it is. GMA stands for "Go Meet the Artist" or something like that. I never really looked at the sign. A week when everyone involved with Christian music comes together; it's a time for promoters to get promo packs, record companies to promote their artists, and for people to see the new talent on the rise.

Some have said that it is also a time for new performers to kiss up to every radio personality, promoter, and record company in the business. I, however, don't know how this could be true because I, Christian Comedian {{Bob Smiley}}, find these people FAR TOO INTELLIGENT to fall for such a ploy. They are such intellectual giants who would instantly see through that kind of cheap flattery... not to mention that they all dress really well.

The main hangout for GMA is the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel. The lobby is the colon of GMA: everything goes through it. Anyone who is anyone can be seen walking through that lobby. In fact, last year, one performer was accused of standing in the lobby for six hours hoping to be recognized! This was an exaggeration; I was only there for two hours, tops.

A couple of things to practice before entering the lobby are the "over the shoulder" conversation. This involves talking to someone while constantly looking over their shoulder to make sure you don't miss anyone more famous walking through (see: Peter Furler). In fact, an artist can gauge how well his career is going by the amount of eye contact he actually gets. For example, I could walk in there with pinkeye and no one would notice, while a cardboard cutout of Smitty would cause the entire lobby to stop talking.

The other thing to practice is the "point and wave" maneuver while going up and down the escalator, even if you have no one to point and wave to; especially if you have no one to point and wave to. This will make it appear as if you know everyone while getting you in the whole GMA mood. By the way, hiring someone to stand in the room and shout out your name is "just sad," or so I'm told.

There are so many things I love about GMA. I love the hum of the rooms as artists spend hours talking into tiny tape recorders doing "liners" (not a drug reference) for radio personnel, saying things like, "Hey, this is Clay Crosse and you're listening to Zany Wayne and the Wacky Workers Week Show on W.E.N.D. radio, where they play the end of all your favorite songs!"

I love the important debates that go on each year. An example: "As a promoter, how close must we follow the band riders? What if kiwi is not in season?" Or the new debates such as, "What really is Christian music? Is it Christian to ask someone to kiss me under the milky twilight?" Answer: it is this year!

I love watching someone who has no idea of past history introduce a road manager to a promoter a month after the two have had a "strong disagreement" over the definition of presale counts at a show date. I love the uncomfortable way they both say, "Uh, we've met," and then awkwardly try to be pleasant. These two will share heaven but will probably never agree on a ticket count.

I love the Dove Awards, award meaning "trophy" and dove being an old Latin word for "Christian version of a Grammy." I love how we all want to win a Dove while maintaining that we couldn't care less who is nominated, much less who wins. I love the anticipation and excitement as one name is called out (see: Steven Curtis Chapman) while three losers (see: not Steven Curtis Chapman) turn to their seatmate and say smugly, "It's all political you know."

I love the unspoken rule between artists that a televised award category is much more important than a lesser-known non-televised category. I love that there are not enough categories. Matt Morginsky (lead singer of the {{Supertones}}) and I feel there should be at least two more categories. He would like to see "Best Half-Jewish 23-Year-Old Bald Singer/Songwriter With a So-so Jump Shot," while I feel there should be a "Best Young Christian Comedian Who Doesn't Sing Song Parodies in His Act Who by the Way is Never Nominated for Anything" award. If you're on the panel, please think it over.

I love all of these things! I love GMA. It's our time to come together as a big family, to review the last year and to look toward the next year. Sure, like a big family we may not all get along or have the same outlook, but with all the "industry" stuff that goes on, we are really all there for one reason: we all want to spread God's Word in some way or another. When it's all said and done, we come together not to promote bands, but to promote our Savior. I look forward to it. If you need me, I'll be in the lobby with my Michael W. Smith cutout.