Passive aggressive people will sometimes veil insulting, critical, derogatory or generally aggressive comments with humor. The patina of humor makes the comment seem like a joke, not to be taken seriously, all in good fun, and it safeguards the aggressive person. If someone gets offended, they are being too serious, can't take a joke, and so they cannot voice their upset without seeming to be the one escalating the situation, when in fact it was the aggressor who did that.
This behavior seems to lie on a spectrum. On one side are comments which are simultaneously aggressive and genuinely funny (though of course both, especially the latter, are fairly subjective). On the other side would be lame attempts at the behavior, something like "you are fat!... just joking!" in which nothing in the tone or delivery signals a register of humor. In the middle of the spectrum, I imagine, are aggressive statements genuinely delivered as jokes. Their register signals that they are jokes, but they are aggressive rather than funny. They are aggressive comments masquerading as jokes.
A friend once called this "joking on the square", but I have never heard or seen this phrase. This type of comment is both pervasive and psychologically subtle and in my experience there is often an exact word describing such things. If not a word, is there an astute phrase which cuts to the heart of this?