What is the best way to describe in English (expression, idiom) a context that at first sight is funny (most would laugh), but a deep analysis will make it really serious or even dramatic (to cry over)?
Example of such contexts:
"fail compilations" on the Internet - most of them are presented as funny, but some scenes include serious accidents (that might be even tragic)
discussions between politicians - their lack of knowledge seems funny, but their are actually controlling lots of things
My native language has an expression that literally translates to "it would be to laugh about, if it would not be to cry about".
Question: How to best describe a context that looks funny, but it is actually dramatic?