Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beloved Toronto Jewish Ethnic Stereotypes 1/2: Saul Korman and Korry's

My grandfather tells a great Saul Korman story. It goes as follows:

Ten couples were taking out another couple for the latter's 50th anniversary. They went to a very nice Toronto restaurant famed for its wood-panelled walls, wood-burning fireplace, and prolific use of garlic. They had steak, they had ribs, they had lobster and wine, and eventually they all shared a cheese-cake (which they'd brought from Wanda's Pie in the Sky). The cheque came at the end of the night and every couple--well, every husband--tossed cash into the middle of the table. Every couple except Korman and wife.

Out came Saul's wallet, and out came his Korry's Visa. "Let me put it on my card," he said. And he gathered up the cash, gave the credit card to the waiter, and charged it.

Now Gentile readers might not understand that story. "What's the difference? He paid with his card. It's the same as cash. He put in exactly his share."

Well, my naive WASP friends, let me explain something to you. A corporate credit card in the hands of a Jewish man (over the age of 40) is an interesting thing. It tends to pay for everything. And everything it tends to pay for is magically transformed: in this case from an anniversary dinner party to a business dinner/tax deduction.

That's $2,000 for dinner, minus 40% off his gross income. The dinner wasn't only free; it paid for a new pair of shoes.

Korry's Clothiers has become famous in Toronto as the store owned by the raspy-voiced Jew. Being Jewish, this has always bothered me. I remember the first time I heard one of his commercials: he was on the Fan, it was 1997, and I was in the car with my grandfather--Korman's friend--going south on Bathurst at College.

"We've got tailors working in the back," Korman bragged. "We've got more tailors than anyone in the business."

"Who the hell cares?" my grandfather said.

The last ten years have seen Korman migrate from The Fan to CFRB 1010. Of course he still calls into the Fan. But I haven't heard him in a while. He used to bring Tim Hortons donuts to Don Landry and Gord Stellick. Back then I remember him as a salesman. He talked about pants, he talked about shirts, and he talked about Franco.

You see, Korman doesn't record his spots; he calls in--live--and talks. He just talks.

Now he's basically my grandfather. He talks about his grandkids and where he went on vacation. He talks about the waiters on his cruise and how he loves playing gin. He talks about a guy he met at the bank who just lost his job at Midas. He talks about the weather.

And then he talks about clothes. It goes without saying that he can give you a deal. Jerome Weidman couldn't have done it any better.

Korman's become a minor celebrity. He's what Mel Lastman was in his Bad Boy days. That's about as good for Toronto Jews as a Nascar race through Forest Hill.

You have to understand that Toronto doesn't have any famous Jews. There's Norm Rumack, Jake Gold, and Saul Korman. We don't have a Jewish writer; we don't have a Jewish actor. We've got lots of rich Jews, but no one who can tell a joke. I figure that'll change, but 'til then we're waiting for the world according to Korman.

In a way, he's our Don Cherry. In a nicer jacket.


Anonymous said...

I don't care for Saul Korman
and what he has to say.

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

Saul Korman is a gentleman and a wonderful human being. I have know this man for 9 years and i'm a salesman in the business. Saul hasnt bought a thing from me in 4 years, but it doesnt matter cause i like the guy that much. He is a mentor and is very generous with his time and advice to young people who demonstrate energy and ambition.

Anonymous said...

Saul Korman gets EVERYTHING for free. He's good at it. Truly a manipulator. Ill bet that even all items in hs store are there on consignment. This guy pays for NOTHING. His trips, his advertizing, his give-a-ways etc., are all fully paid for by him promoting these things on his commercials.

Tom Mihalik said...

My grandmother remembers Saul Korman when he was working the games at the carnivals and CNE Midway a long time ago, win a prize every-time.
I took her to Korry's 5_6_9 Danforth so she could see him singing and dancing in the store window.
It was hilarious watching this insane loon

Don Duff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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