- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s state is often a punchline.

In his comedy talk-show debut, the first-term Republican will do his best to avoid being one himself.

Christie is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” early Wednesday.

Christie, who says he’s not running for president in 2012, though he’s often mentioned as a possible candidate, has quickly become a nationally known personality.

He’s been on “Meet the Press” and Oprah Winfrey’s talk show and regularly appears on cable news programs.

But his appearance with Fallon will be his first comedy talk show. The show airs at 12:35 a.m. Eastern so it doesn’t have quite the pull of Letterman, Leno, Stewart or Colbert. But it could be a warmup: Those shows are now part of the circuit for presidential hopefuls.

Christie is no stranger to humor. He peppers his speeches with laugh lines.

In Philadelphia on Tuesday, he recounted a staredown with lawmakers over the budget this summer, saying he told them: “I’m going back to the governor’s residence in Princeton. I’m ordering a pizza, opening a beer and watching the Mets.”

Then he paused a moment: “I did that because I wanted to share the sacrifice. I watched the Mets.”

In an audience of Phillies fans, that got a big laugh.

Then he joked that when he wears a Mets hat to games in Philadelphia, the fans give him a hard time: “They called me names the last time I was here that I haven’t been called on the floor of the Legislature.”

Christie and Fallon have engaged in a war of tweets ever since Christie canceled a rail tunnel that would have linked New Jersey with New York City. Fallon joked that people would get to the Garden State the way they normally did, “by accident.”

Christie used Twitter to invite the late-night comedian to get a personal tour. Christie then made fun of Fallon’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” The singer is a hero to both men.

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