It actually seemed like the Garden State's reputation was improving. With the popular, tough-talking Gov. Chris Christie at the helm, New Jersey's days as the laughingstock of the nation appeared to be fading, but that was before Bridgegate. Now, it's almost impossible to turn on your TV without seeing late night talk show hosts using New Jersey as a punching bag.

Governor Christie (played by Bobby Moynihan) interviewed by Piers Morgan (Taran Killam) on Saturday Night Live (NBC)

"It actually has hurt our image and I don't want to see this state's reputation and image harmed any further than it has been," said State Senate Pres. Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford). "This investigation has absolutely hurt this state again. We will get to the bottom of it and the people who are responsible are going to stand and answer to the public."

Leno, Letterman, Fallon, Conan, Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and others have all been having a field day as they gleefully tell joke after joke about New Jersey. Bridgegate has clearly unleashed the "bash New Jersey" beast once again.

"Of course it's an embarrassment and we all should be embarrassed," Sweeney said. "It's not funny. It's not funny and everybody in this state should be angry, more embarrassed than angry. They should be angry."

Don't look for the Jersey jokes to stop any time soon. The investigations into the unannounced George Washington Bridge access lane closures will continue for some time.

What was supposed to be shining moment that would catapult the Garden State into the limelight in a positive way is now being overshadowed. Super Bowl XLVIII will be played this Sunday at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands and that's likely to spoon feed people another reason to bring up Bridgegate.