The prime minister acknowledged that Brand was funny but said he was focusing on the more important tasks of promoting Britain’s economic recovery.
The Labour leader was seen leaving Brand’s home and recording studios in London on Monday evening, raising speculation that the comedian could be considering endorsing him.
A Labour spokesman said Miliband was there to film an interview and that the party was looking forward to it being broadcast. Brand has more than 9.5 million followers on Twitter, runs his own YouTube channel, The Trews, and has previously urged his followers on the left not to vote.
Speaking in Enfield, north London, Cameron said: “As for Russell Brand, I profoundly disagree. He says don’t vote. That is his whole view: don’t vote, it will only encourage them – or something.
“He is funny. Right? It’s funny, but you know politics and life and elections and jobs and the economy – it’s not a joke. Russell Brand is a joke. Ed Miliband hangs out with Russell Brand – he is a joke. This is not funny. This is about the election.
“This is about our future, this is about jobs, about the economy, it is about the recovery. I haven’t got time to hang out with Russell Brand. This is more important. These are real people. They are what the election is all about.”
Miliband countered Cameron’s remarks by saying he would go anywhere to challenge those who say voting does not make a difference.
Speaking in South Wales, he said: “I will tell you what is a joke is saying this election is about leadership and then refusing to debate. I am surprised by David Cameron, I just think he is totally out of touch. Some people have said this campaign is boring so I have decided to make it more interesting.
“The serious point to this is as follows: there are millions of people in our country who are not looking at this election, who are nor listening to this election, and think voting does not make a difference.”
The interview raised speculation that the comedian could be considering endorsing Miliband. It is thought that Brand is not registered to vote, so if he were to endorse the Labour leader, it would represent a sharp U-turn by the comedian.
An endorsement from Brand might be a mixed blessing for Miliband, but the fact that the Labour leader was willing to go to his home to discuss politics suggests he thinks it might be a risk worth taking as he seeks to persuade young people to vote on 7 May.
He was photographed leaving Brand’s flat in Shoreditch, east London, and getting into his official car surrounded by aides. A neighbour who lives opposite took the photo, and the picture spread on Twitter.
Brand recently told the New Statesman: “I have never voted. Like most people, I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people, I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: ‘Don’t vote, it encourages them,’ and, ‘The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.’”
Cameron, who has been speaking without notes and with noticeably more passion over the last few days, insisted that “passionate prime minister” is not a new phenomenon. “We are in year five of passionate prime minister. This job has been unbelievably fulfilling, very hard at moments. But frankly it is really important that we turn around this economy. That is what this is all about. That is what my passion is about for this job.”
This article was written by Nicholas Watt and Patrick Wintour, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 28th April 2015 14.29 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010