I am having difficulty resolving humor from seriousness in this case and need some help.
05:00 in Leslie Nielsen Monologue: Serious Actor - Saturday Night Live (Season 14, aired 02/18/89):
Everybody thinks I’m a comedian but that’s not quite true. A comedian is someone who says funny things, a comic is someone who says things funny. I’m neither. I’m someone who says unfunny things. I say unfunny things in an unfunny way, and somehow it seems to end up funny.
Question: Is Leslie Nielsen's distinction between a comedian and a comic actually insightful, or is he just telling a joke here? I'm confused because he claims that he says things that are unfunny (as opposed to telling jokes) so I'm wondering if even though it seems flippant if there might be a real difference between "saying funny things" and "saying things funny".
I turned to Wikidiff's What is the difference between comedian and comic? but I am afraid that this itself is a joke:
Comedian is a related term of comic.
As nouns the difference between comedian and comic is that comedian is an entertainer who performs in a humorous manner, especially by telling jokes while comic is a comedian.
The top answer to Quora's What is the difference between a comic and a comedian? is
The terms are often used interchangeably and in fact, are usually defined in terms of each other, but the generally accepted difference among those in the comedy world is that "comic" refers to someone who does live, solo, stand-up comedy, while "comedian" can refer to someone who might do stand-up but might also do improv or sketch comedy. The implied difference is that comics are comics, but comedians are often actors.
which definitely seems different than Nielsen's distinction, but I don't know if it contradicts or is compatible with it.