Looking at the work, you feel a need to concentrate on the comic aspects, and not on the stuff that makes you squirm. With a couple of the pieces, your gut reaction is "Oh, don't tell people that!" But should he make things easy for us? He could neatly edit it all into a black-humor extravaganza in the way comedians with tortured pasts make things entertaining, with only a modicum of discomfort, for audiences. The unedited matter, however, challenges and provokes the viewer. Writers often explore difficult personal stories, yet when something is presented on a gallery wall, instead of between the discreet covers of a book, we somehow react to it differently. It seems more vulnerable.
In the end, Smith's work is not just about the absurdity, comedy and tragedy of his life, but that life is absurd, comic and tragic. Who can't relate to that?