The actor, 50, said: "I cut tobacco for a living ? that was hard.
"I sold insurance door to door ? that was hard.
"Acting is not hard work."
Clooney, tipped for an Oscar for his role in The Descendants, spoke as he began a round of awards ceremonies with girlfriend Stacey Keibler, 32.
The star added: "If you're lucky enough to be sitting at a table like this, you've been very lucky in your life.
"You caught the brass ring somewhere along the way.
"I've known a tremendous number of talented actors who didn't get opportunities. Is it hard work? It's long hours, but nobody wants to hear you complain.
"I don't find acting difficult. I find it challenging and sometimes I'm bad at it. But I don't find it hard."