Panel 2: Is Weed being ironic in his use of "soiree" and "extraordinaire"? I would think he is, but just for his information, ironic is pretty much played out these days. And if he's not being ironic, he's a pretentious git. And I'm siding with the people who think honoring someone with this much ceremony just for signing a contract is way premature. There's nothing tangible yet, so it's basically saying, "Mike has had some good news." Great, but a lot of people have good news from time to time. Why does Mike get a "soiree" in his honor?
Panel 3: Okay, this is like a few years ago in Luann, when TJ told Brad's family that Brad would get a parade in his honor for saving one person from a fire. It should have been so obvious to them that TJ was bullshitting (apart from the fact that it was TJ), because firefighters save people all the time, and since when do they get parades. And again I say, there should be people at this party who are already published authors, or have tried to be, but didn't get a $25K advance and a letter of mad adulation for their work.
Panel 4: Hm. Doesn't look to me like he's on the hook to make a speech. In fact, I'm not sure it's incumbent on him to say anything: I think when people are chanting your name (honestly, Barak Obama on a left-leaning college campus would get less cheering, and that's saying a lot), you're supposed to smile and say thank you, and that's it.
What this probably is, is just another example of "Ha, ha, the guy who's so gifted with words draws a blank!" And the hollow look in his eyes strikes me as ominous. If I didn't know better, I'd think that a few days ago, he found out that the contract had fallen through (publisher closed down, some higher-up said, "Too much chick-lit this season: cancel Stone Soup") and he'd been too ashamed to tell anyone. If that was the case, would that advance The Housening? Now he can't buy any house, so John and Elly get the Tiny Train House and bequeath the Pattermanse to Mike an' Dee?
Gotta go: I have to finish throwing up before "Lost" comes on.