There is a difference, at least to me. There are tricks on the market that are comedy tricks, like, Tricky Bottles, Comedy Egg Can, Comedy Funnel, Comedy Rope Trick, Cut, No Cut Scissors, Comedy Book Test to name a few, and these are effects a magician can put in the act to get a laugh. And that’s fine, we all like a good laugh. The trick has built in comedy.
But then there are comedians who put magic in their act. They are comedians first and magicians, second, not that their magic isn’t top notch, but it sort of a by the way thing. They can perform a serious trick, but their comedic mind turns it into something funny.
I remember going to the Comedy Nest at the old forum in Montreal. Every so often David Acer would have a Magic Comedy night and the performers were magicians of course. Many of the spectators were also magicians. I forget who it was, but one of the performers did Cards Across, but instead of using cards he used Kraft cheese slices in the cellophane wrappers. For the magicians it was hilarious.. The non magicians must have wondered why there was such an uproar in the place. He was a funny guy. The Great Unknown (Daniel Raymond)
was also a comedian first. Romaine, although his magic is serious, has comedic bits throughout his act.
The Chinese Linking Rings can be a thing of mystery or comedy or both. It all depends on the magician. This is where one has to find oneself. Sometimes that’s not a problem, sometimes it takes work. Not the magic, but the kind of show or persona you want to portray on stage; a magician with some really funny tricks, or a comedian doing some magic. One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on your personality and your comfort zone.