Turns out that Vanity Fair did a comprehensive 2008 article on the jaw-dropping insanity that was November 1978's The Star Wars Holiday Special. Should I admit that I saw this the one and only time it aired? Never mind, I just did. I think I tried to convince myself that Art Carney wasn't Art Carney making bad jokes but was in fact the deeply dignified Alec Guiness, because honestly, I remember Obi-Wan being in it (damn you, lying memory!). An excerpt:
With [George Lucas]'s attention elsewhere during most of its production, The Star Wars Holiday Special metastasized into a monster. Two directors and much turmoil later, the finished special didn’t so much resemble its namesake as it did another science-fiction film: The Thing with Two Heads. Onto the body of Lucas’s sentimental and irony-free Wookiee plotline, the producers and writers grafted a campy 70s variety show that makes suspension of disbelief impossible. In between minutes-long stretches of guttural, untranslated Wookiee dialogue that could almost pass for avant-garde cinema, Maude’s Bea Arthur sings and dances with the aliens from the movie’s cantina scene; The Honeymooners’ Art Carney consoles Chewbacca’s family with such comedy chestnuts as “Why all the long, hairy faces?”; Harvey Korman mugs shamelessly as a multi-limbed intergalactic Julia Child cooking “Bantha Surprise”; the Jefferson Starship pops up to play a number about U.F.O.’s; and original Star Wars cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill walk around looking cosmically miserable.